The April flight to Russia, the safe haven for many of Ukraine’s criminals, of four former Berkut riot police officers accused of murder, torture and assault highlights the lack of progress towards rule of law.
The judges who let them escape exemplify Ukraine’s corrupt and subservient judiciary, which is now undergoing what critics see as a cosmetic reform at best. The authorities have refused to create an independent anti-corruption court, while the competition for a new Supreme Court appears rigged. Of the candidates who got into its second stage, 78 percent are incumbent judges.
The failure by the Prosecutor General’s Office to properly investigate the murders of 100 EuroMaidan Revolution demonstrators after three years shows how deeply unreformed and corrupt the most powerful branch of law enforcement remains. A stunning 84 percent of incumbent top local prosecutors have kept their jobs since the revolution.
The Interior Ministry’s protection of ex-Berkut officers exposes the lack of police reform, with just 6 percent of the police force fired after vetting and most of those dismissed reinstated by judges.
Putin enjoys such events as they play into his propaganda of Ukraine as a failed state. Ukraine must prove to the world that it is not.