January 31, 2021
Today's issue:
- Ukraine sanctions and bans three Russian propaganda TV channels;
- Parliament keeps resisting the judicial reform;
- MPs attempt to undermine the future Anti-corruption Strategy;
- Invitation to the discussion “Ukraine – NATO: vision-2030”;

- recommended reading
Ukraine sanctions and bans three Russian propaganda TV channels

On February 2, President Zelenskiy imposed sanctions on Ukrainian MP Taras Kozak and subsequently sanctioned and banned three national news channels in Ukraine: 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK. One of the alleged reason for the sanctions was Kozak's financing of terrorism in the form of illegal coal trading in favour of terrorist organizations functioning on the Russia-occupied territories.

Taras Kozak is a long-time associate of the head of the OPzZh and Putin's personal friend Viktor Medvedchuk. It is believed that Taras Kozak does not have an independent business, but is holding assets in the name of Viktor Medvedchuk. The move to ban TV channels was supported by the leading media organizations and fact-checkers community as those channels were vehicles of Russian propaganda of and did not comply with journalist standards. Also, the leading NGOs appealed to the US government requesting to extend their sanctions against Taras Kozak and other associates of Viktor Medvedchuk.
Parliament keeps resisting the judicial reform
On Tuesday, February 2, the Parliament voted for the draft law No.4229 in the first reading. It suggests temporary transfer of the HQCJ powers on the selection of judges to the High Council of Justice. In particular, the HCJ should finish a competition for at least 35 judicial positions launched by the HQCJ on 5 of August 2019.
Importantly, under the draft law No. 4229 the HCJ will appoint outsiders of competitions conducted in 2011-2016 without checking their competence and integrity. Thus, the the draft law No. 4229 contradicts the recent Venice Commission opinion on the judiciary reform where the experts stressed on the importance of the HCJ reform before it receives new powers. The expert community appealed to the Parliament not to adopt this law.

Also, the Committee on Legal Policy on its meeting of February 3, greenlighted all five candidates for a vacant position of the CCU judge. In spite of Constitution envisaging a competitive selection process, the Committee failed to conduct any assessment of the candidates suggested by factions. In particular, the Committee ignored the fact a candidate from OPzZh  Yurii Pavlenko does not have 15 years of legal experience required by the Constitution as he had graduated from law university only in 2014. Thus, in the upcoming plenary days MPs will try to push the appointment of a new CCU judge without competition and against the recent Venice Commission recommendations. 
MPs attempt to undermine the future Anti-corruption Strategy
Last week the Anti-Corruption Committee began to consider amendments to the Anti-Corruption Strategy. Members of Parliament have already shown reluctance to approve an ambitious and effective Strategy for the upcoming years. MPs try to downplay the Strategy developed by the NACP and weaken its key provisions.
Invitation to the discussion “Ukraine – NATO: vision-2030”
We are happy to invite you to the online panel discussion "Ukraine-NATO: vision 2030". The discussion will consist of two panels: “Ukraine - NATO: vision-2030” and "Way forward with the SBU reform" that will take place on February, 9 at 16.00-18.00 (UA) / 9.00-11.00 (DC time). For more information please visit our website.
Recommended Reading 
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