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CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CANCELS PENALTIES FOR LYING IN ASSET DECLARATIONS

The Kyiv Post reported, “The Constitutional Court on Oct. 27 effectively canceled penalties for lying in officials’ asset declarations, according to the Kyiv Post’s sources in the court. This court’s assault on anti-corruption institutions may disrupt lending from the International Monetary Fund and lead to suspension of visa-free travel with the European Union. The court ruled that Ukrainian laws on penalties for incorrect information in asset declarations and illicit enrichment, as well as on the publication of asset declarations and the confiscation of ill-gotten wealth, were unconstitutional, according to the Kyiv Post’s sources. However, sources cited by other media said the court canceled criminal penalties for …

Oct 28, 2020

 

The Kyiv Post reported, “The Constitutional Court on Oct. 27 effectively canceled penalties for lying in officials’ asset declarations, according to the Kyiv Post’s sources in the court.

 

This court’s assault on anti-corruption institutions may disrupt lending from the International Monetary Fund and lead to suspension of visa-free travel with the European Union.

 

The court ruled that Ukrainian laws on penalties for incorrect information in asset declarations and illicit enrichment, as well as on the publication of asset declarations and the confiscation of ill-gotten wealth, were unconstitutional, according to the Kyiv Post’s sources. However, sources cited by other media said the court canceled criminal penalties for lying in asset declarations but left penalties for illicit enrichment intact. The text of the ruling has yet to be published.

 

The court also effectively annulled the authority of the National Agency for Preventing Corruption (NAPC), which is tasked with monitoring asset declarations.

 

Several judges of the Constitutional Court are themselves under investigation by the NAPC over failing to fully declare assets in their declarations. The Constitutional Court did not respond to a request for comment.

 

‘Corrupt practices are triumphing at the highest level: judges of the Constitutional Court made the decision in the illicit enrichment case in their own interests,’ the NAPC said in a statement.

 

The Constitutional Court has recently dealt other major blows to Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions.

 

On Aug. 28, the Constitutional Court ruled that then-President Petro Poroshenko’s 2015 decree to appoint Artem Sytnyk as head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) was unconstitutional. On Sept. 16, the Constitutional Court also ruled that some clauses of the law on the NABU were unconstitutional. […]

 

Legal experts and anti-corruption activists have long called for the current Constitutional Court to be replaced. They say it has lost its credibility and is simply too controversial.

 

Matti Maasikas, the EU’s ambassador to Ukraine, and Kristina Kvien, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, met Oleksandr Tupitsky, head of the Constitutional Court, on Oct. 27. He has also met other G7 ambassadors. The Kyiv Post’s sources said Tupitsky

was trying to persuade them that the court is not going to destroy anti-corruption institutions.”