Court says the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine cannot be found guilty of administrative offenses related to the conflict of interest
The Holosiivskyi District Court of Kyiv has ruled that the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) Ihor Slidenko and Iryna Zavhorodnia did not commit an administrative offence while deciding on the case in the situation of conflict of interest.
On October 27, 2020, the judges took part in the hearing on constitutionality of the e-declaration system. At the same time the case of Ihor Slidenko’s possible violation of anti-corruption legislation was considered in the court. Also, the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) was investigating the case of Iryna Zavhorodnia, as she did not mention her husband’s car in her declaration.
Therefore, the judges could have a conflict of interest while voting for the CCU’s decision of the e-declaration system.
This fact was also noted in the urgent opinion of the Venice Commission. The Venice Commission stated the following: “For all judges, including those of constitutional courts, it is important not only to act in an impartial way but also to convey the perception of impartiality to the public. […] This seems not to be the case in Decision 13-r/2020, which lacks discussion of this issue and does not explain why some judges, including even the reporting judge, did not withdraw when this a priori would have been warranted”.
The judge of the Holosiivskyi District Court of Kyiv Alla Slobodianiuk in her decision stated that “there is no direct and causal link between the vote and the decision”. She claims that it is impossible to bring the CCU judges to administrative responsibility at all as the CCU is a collegiate body.
The NACP considered this decision of the court to be groundless, as other courts in similar cases on the members of local councils found them guilty for similar administrative offense. Moreover, last year the same court was hearing the similar case on the former Head of the CCU, saying that he could be brought to justice for conflict of interest.
At the same time, the lawmakers have not granted the NACP the right to submit an appeal in such cases. Therefore, these decisions of the court are final.