Interview 2022-09-30T04:03:53+03:00
Ukrainian news
'Acting Head' Of The Supreme Court Of Ukraine Vasyl Humeniuk: Klov Palace Is Ours. They Can't Prevent Us from

'Acting Head' Of The Supreme Court Of Ukraine Vasyl Humeniuk: Klov Palace Is Ours. They Can't Prevent Us from Entering It!

On December 15, 2017, the new Supreme Court officially announced the start of its work. That was the major achievement of the judicial reform in Ukraine. For the first time in the history the highest instance was formed of honest and professional judges. The new Supreme Court was destined to revive the citizens' trust in courts and had to become a symbol of new justice. However, this ointment appeared to have its fly.

The 12 judges / representatives of the 'old' Supreme Court [aka Supreme Court of Ukraine] headed by the 'acting chairperson' of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, Vasyl Humeniuk, say they do not admit the reorganization of the institution and consider the whole process unconstitutional. On June 25, they demanded that the Prosecutor General's Office [PGO] open a legal action against the fact of the arbitrariness during the reorganization of the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

According to the 'rebels', the Supreme Court of Ukraine has not been closed down in accordance with the procedure established by law and thus continued fulfilling its duties along with the new Supreme Court. That can indirectly be proved by the fact that the state register of legal entities still contains an entry about the both, the Supreme Court of Ukraine and the new Supreme Court, both having the same legal address, 8 Pylypa Orlyka street [Klov Palace (aka Klovskyi Palats)]. At that, later, on June 21, there appeared another record saying "the disbandment of the Supreme Court of Ukraine has been commenced."

In order to sort out the situation, the Ukrainian News Agency called Mr. Humeniuk to interview him. The truth be told, the 'acting chairperson's' answers did not throw much light on the situation and once again exposed its irrationality.

What is going on with the Supreme Court of Ukraine now? Has it been disbanded or not?

Let’s read the Law of Ukraine 1401 [On Amendments To Constitution Of Ukraine In Terms Of Justice - ed. note] and see that the only novelty in the Supreme Court of Ukraine is now the absence of the word Ukraine in its name. At that, Item 16-1, Sub-Item 3 reads that the judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine elected before the amendments to the law took effect, continue being in their office. That's it.

But the state register says the Supreme Court of Ukraine is now being disbanded.

The impostors may write whatever they like there. That’s why we addressed the prosecutor general. We want this crime to be investigated.

Have you gotten any feedback from the prosecutor general? Has any criminal case been opened?

This is their business. The prosecutor general must act. Our business is to report, and the prosecutor general has to act in compliance with the requirements of the procedural legislation.

As far as I understand you believe that the documents on establishment of a winding-up commission have been falsified?

11 out of 12 members of the commission have said they had nothing to do with that commission.

Am I right saying that you still go to 'work' to the Klov Palace [the residence of the new Supreme Court - ed. note]? I mean, you are let in there… aren't you banned from entering it?

How can't we be let in there if I am an elected judge of the Supreme Court of Ukraine until I am 65? How can they ban us from entering the court?

Who knows…

That [the Klov Palace - ed. note] is the premise of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. The whole of it is our premise. I do deal with all of that, and manage the staff. We have about 150 employees! We settle the personnel matters, matters of the court's activity, heating, accommodation of the new Supreme Court. We provide them with everything, premises and courtrooms. All that is done in order to ensure the protection of the civil rights. We do not block the process of the exercising of justice. We protect the rights and interests and deal with the matters of further destiny of our 150 employees.

If the register contains the word 'disbandment', we cannot transfer them, we have to establish a winding-up commission.

Look how the President, and now the Verkhovna Rada, deal with the issue of disbandment of the constitutional institutions. We need a law that would rule "disband the Supreme Court of Ukraine, transfer its employees somewhere, transfer its premises somewhere," etc.

If you knew that all that was not right from the very beginning, why then you participated in the tender for judges of the new Supreme Court [Vasyl Humeniuk failed to receive enough points and thus was tossed out of the tender - ed. note]?

The tender has nothing to do with the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Everyone could deal with that issue in compliance with the law. That’s it. Every candidate can explain why they participate in a tender. Because the law allows it. However, that's not the point. Back on October 3, 2016, long before the tender took place, we had filed a constitutional appeal, in which we noted that those provisions [on the tender to the new Supreme Court - ed. note] were unconstitutional.

A number of law's provisions were unclear, they did not give any precise answer to what we had to do. So now you see what happened. Never mind.

The thing is that the Supreme Court has to be established on the basis of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. That was the point. That is how it works.

The tender has to take into account all non-dismissed judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine…

Does that mean that all of you have to simply be transferred to the new Supreme Court and the problem is solved?

No, we do not need any transfers.

What's then?

That's now the matter of technique. That must be enshrined in the law. The Constitution ensures my staying a judge until I am 65. The same refers to my colleagues elected until 65.

How will they tackle the issue? They might decide to terminate my authorities or go through my dismissal in compliance with the terms of Article 126 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

Does that mean you do not accept a recommendation of the High Qualification Commission of Judges [HQCJ] on your transfer to the Appeal Court of Kyiv region, and that you do not intend to work in that court?

The HQCJ's recommendations are only recommendations…

Sure, there also should be a respective presidential decree to transfer you…

Yes, but a recommendation itself should have grounds. It is possible to recommend transfer of judges only if a court is disbanded or reorganized.

So, you are not going to work at the Appeal Court of Kyiv region?

I am or I am not… time will show. That's not on the agenda now. We are speaking of the Constitution, violation of the Constitution and infringement of rights and interests of the permanent judges [the ones elected until the age of 65].

If a judge is permanent, the HQCJ has no right to transfer him/her. That's it.

Is it right that the said 12 judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine continue working at the Klov Palace and receiving their salaries?


If you don’t mind my asking, what is its size? It must be much lower than in judges of the new Supreme Court?

No doubt. 10-20 times lower. Our salary is UAH 20,000.

And what are you dealing with then? You don’t hear cases, do you?

In compliance with the law, apart from exercising the procedural work, judges deal with addresses to the Cabinet of Ministers, Verkhovna Rada, etc. We also deal with internal issues, ensure economic activity of the new Supreme Court, provide them with premises, deal with the issues of inventory, pass the cases to the archive, and so on and so forth.

By the way, once you mentioned you could not hand some classified documents over to the new Supreme Court. Has that issue been settled?

How could it be settled?! We cannot pass them as we do not have the right to inherit.

My last question will be the following. What is your estimate of the work of the new Supreme Court? Do its judges keep up with their responsibilities?

Let the people decide. I am not used to making conclusions. I do read their rulings. They are judges, they deal with the issues and take respective decisions. That's their right. Their rulings may not be appealed. That's it.

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