July 21, 2020
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Today's issue:
- NABU presses charges against notorious judges of the KDAC;
- Rada moves forward with selection commissions for heads of SAPO and SBI; 
- Another attempt to adopt the draft law limiting the independence of NABU;

- recommended reading
NABU presses charges against notorious judges of the KDAC

On July 17, NABU brought charges against the notorious head of Kyiv District Administrative Court, Pavlo Vovk, five other judges, head of State Court Administration, and several attorneys. They are charged with organized crime, usurpation of power, bribery and unlawful interference in the work of the High Qualification Commission of Judges.

These aren’t the first charges against Vovk and other judges of the notorious court. They were first charged with obstructing justice in July 2019 but continued carrying out their duties. Back then, the High Council of Justice refused to suspend Vovk. The new wiretaps revealed on July 17 allege Vovk's illegal influence over various judicial bodies, including Constitutional Court and High Council of Justice. Recordings also disclose how judges have illegally recieved a phone data of a journalist of Slidstvo.Info Yevhenia Motorevska to find out about her sources.

On July 20, the CSOs appealed to the President Zelenskiy with the demand to fulfil the requirement of recent judicial reform and liquidate KDAC as well as transfer part of its jurisdiction to the Supreme Court. Activists consider that activities of KDAC have nothing to do with fair trial, its judges consider themselves unpunishable and have an extraordinary impact on activities of other state bodies.

The presidential draft law No. 3711 that promised judicial reform, does not consider any issues resolving any of KDAC problems. On July 15, the Committee on Legal policy approved it for the first reading and recommended for inclusion to the Parliament's agenda. Moreover, there is an opinion that the draft law suggests giving the KDAC the power to decide on members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges.

Also, as a reaction to the abovementioned events, on July 21, 50 MPs appealed to the Constitutional Court on the unconstitutionality of powers of NABU. The appeal was initiated by MP Antonina Slavytska, who according to the investigation is a person closely related to Pavlo Vovk and lobbies his interests in the Parliament. 
Rada moves forward with selection commissions for heads of SAPO and SBI

On July 14, the Parliament approved three nominees to the Selection Commission for the head of the State Bureau of Investigation. They became Andriy Kozlov, Lidiya Moskvych, and Vasyl Nor. The process of selection of the SBI head is blocked since December 2019, since then agency is managed by an interim head.

On the same day, Rada did not gather enough votes to approve nominees to the Selection Commission for SAPO's head. Thus, the Law Enforcement Committee voted for the fact that parliamentary groups and factions have to submit their new proposals regarding candidates within 24 hours. On July 17, it held the closed meeting and selected nominees, nominated by the Opposition Platform For Life, the Servant of the People and the group Dovira, without interviewing candidates. None of the new nominees complies with the law. They have no experience in the anti-corruption field, and they do not have an impeccable business reputation, high professional and moral qualities, and public authority.
Another attempt to adopt the draft law limiting the independence of NABU

On July 13, 150 MPs led by MP Dubinkyi (leading so-called "Kolomoisky's group" in the Parliament) initiated extraordinary hearing to adopt draft law No. 3133 aimed at limiting NABU's independence. It extends reasons for dismissal of NABU director to include administrative corruption offence and envisages special procedure of suspension of NABU director during investigation of administrative offence. 

According to our information, the initiative has received initial approval from the Office of President, however, later it withdrew its support. Thus, the draft law did not gather enough votes and was returned to the Committee. 
Recommended Reading 
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