Fool­ing friends

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Here is what's hap­pen­ing in the fight to cre­ate a truly in­de­pen­dent anti-cor­rup­tion court: Ukraine's politi­cians are cling­ing to nu­mer­ous ways to pre­vent the es­tab­lish­ment of a truly in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial sys­tem. Why? With cor­rup­tion as per­va­sive as it is, with bil­lions of dol­lars stolen from Ukraini­ans ev­ery year with im­punity, politi­cians and their oli­garchic back­ers are afraid to have pro­fes­sional po­lice, prose­cu­tors and courts.

The latest sign of ob­struc­tion and ob­fus­ca­tion came when, se­cretly at the last minute, a law­maker in the pres­i­dent's dom­i­nant 135-seat fac­tion in par­lia­ment in­serted amend­ments that ef­fec­tively grant amnesty to of­fi­cials cur­rently charged with cor­rup­tion by let­ting ap­peals take place in the dis­cred­ited cur­rent court sys­tem.

The prob­lems run deeper: The Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau of Ukraine has limited pow­ers that are con­tin­u­ally un­der at­tack. Spe­cial Anti-Cor­rup­tion Pros­e­cu­tor Nazar Kholod­nyt­sky should be fired af­ter wire­taps emerged that he is sab­o­tag­ing cases. Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Yuriy Lut­senko is pro­tect­ing cor­rup­tion, not pros­e­cut­ing it. Arsen Avakov is a po­lit­i­cal hack and a tar­get of sev­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions. He has no busi­ness run­ning Ukraine's In­te­rior Min­istry. The Se­cu­rity Ser­vice of Ukraine re­mains out of con­trol with ex­ces­sive pow­ers. And the judges. How many can name a sin­gle judge? Few can, be­cause they pre­fer to re­main ob­scure, all the bet­ter to hide the sale of ver­dicts to the high­est bid­der or most pow­er­ful forces. All these rea­sons are why there hasn't been a sin­gle crim­i­nal con­vic­tion for cor­rup­tion of any con­se­quence in Ukraine's his­tory. If ever there was a time for pres­i­den­tial lead­er­ship, that time is now, for with­out IMF and Western fi­nanc­ing, Ukraine will again face a se­ri­ous eco­nomic cri­sis. Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko: Fix the leg­is­la­tion, start de­liv­er­ing jus­tice and meet the other rea­son­able con­di­tions de­manded by Ukraini­ans and Ukraine's Western friends.

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