On 7 June 2018 Ukrainian Parliament passed the Law of Ukraine “On the Higher Anti-Corruption Court” No. 7440 (the “ACC Law“).
The ACC Law is a product of a long discussion between politicians, international institutions and public activists in Ukraine in anti-corruption sphere, many of whom hailed the ACC Law as a significant milestone on the way of Ukraine to eradicate corruption.
The ACC Law provides that the Higher Anti-Corruption Court is a permanent higher specialised court authorised to consider criminal cases in corruption-related crimes. To this end, the Higher Anti-Corruption Court will act as a court of the first and appellate instances in criminal proceedings concerning crimes within its jurisdiction. Judges of the Higher Anti-Corruption Court will also act as investigative judges supervising the course of criminal proceedings in corruption-related crimes. The jurisdiction of the Higher Anti-Corruption Court is extended to the whole Ukraine.
The ACC Law also determines the principles of the organisation and operational activities of the Higher Anti-Corruption Court, special requirements to the judges of this court as well as certain guarantees and security safeguards for them. Additionally, the ACC Law sets out the competitive selection procedure for judges of the Higher Anti-Corruption Court.
While the Higher Judicial Qualifications Commission of Ukraine will select the judges for nomination to the Higher Anti-Corruption Court, it will have to do that with the consent of the novel body introduced by the ACC Law, the so-called Public Council of International Experts. The Public Council of International Experts will consist of seven members appointed by the Higher Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine solely on the basis of proposals from international organizations with which Ukraine cooperates in the sphere of prevention and counteraction of corruption in accordance with international treaties of Ukraine.
One of the most debated provisions of the ACC Law that prompted extensive discussion in the Parliament was vesting the Public Council of International Experts with a veto right over the candidates for the judge’s position. In the event, the ACC Law has been passed preserving the right of the Public Council of International Experts to veto any nomination by the Higher Judicial Qualifications Commission of Ukraine, yet, at the same time, setting out procedure for overcoming the veto by a joint commission that will consist of representatives of both the Higher Judicial Qualifications Commission and the Public Council of International Experts.
The ACC Law has been passed following consideration of as many as 1927 amendments proposed to the bill for the second reading. The ACC Law is to be transmitted to the President of Ukraine for its official promulgation.
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