On July 17, 2020, the NABU announced
that 7 DACK judges were suspects in an ongoing investigation : Pavlo Vovk, Yevgen Ablov, Igor Pogribnichenko, Volodymyr Keleberda, Igor Kachur, Bogdan Sanin and Oleksiy Ogurtsov. Charges of interference in the activities of the judiciary, attempts to seize state power, creation of a criminal organization, and the obtaining of illegal benefits have been added to the list of already existing offences.
At the same time, the NABU released another batch of audio recordings of conversations from the office of DACK Chairman Pavlo Vovk.
The HCJ failed to respond to the content of the judges' conversations after the release of the first batch of tapes in 2019 as well as the second release in 2020. Instead, the HCJ blamed the NABU for everything, which exposed the criminal actions of the judges.
Thus, less than one week after publication of the new batch of "The Vovk Tapes ", on July 23, 2020, the HCJ approved
an appeal "on measures to ensure the authority of justice", by which it accused the NABU of organizing an "information campaign" against DACK judges. The HCJ assessed the NABU's actions and stated that the latter had undermined the authority of the court, and accused the body of violating the presumption of innocence.
This position was unanimously supported
by members of the HCJ, including Pavlo Grechkivskyi, Oleg Prudyvus, and Viktor Gryshchuk, who had been subjects of the NABU's tape-recordings, and other members of the HCJ, who had received and followed Pavlo Vovk's instructions.
Later, on September 1, 2020, the HCJ refused to remove Yevgen Ablov
and Igor Kachur
. The Prosecutor General's to remove Pavlo Vovk
, Volodymyr Keleberda
, Oleksiy Ogurtsov
and Igor Pogribnichenko
was returned without consideration of the HCJ. The HCJ's decision was motivated
by the fact that the judges were allegedly not properly served with a notice of suspicion, and, therefore, there were no grounds for their removal. It is worth noting that the High Anti-Corruption Court finds that the notice of suspicion was properly served. In particular, the Court ruled on precautionary measures against the former head of the State Judicial Administration Zenoviy Kholodnyuk, who was also served with a notice of suspicion in the DACK case. Thus, the HACC did not find any problems with announcement of suspicion in this case.
In decisions regarding Ablov and Kachur, the HCJ stated that it saw no reason to remove judges, and the Prosecutor General's Office did not prove that there was risk that judges would use their powers to avoid accountability. Such a decision by the HCJ obviously does not withstand any criticism, because according to the substantiated data of the NABU, adoption of judicial decisions is the main tool of criminal activity of DACK judges.