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You're reading: Judges boost careers in trials of opposition

The recent promotion of Rodion Kireyev to acting deputy head of the Kyiv City Pechersk District Court on Feb. 14 comes less than 18 months after he sentenced former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for brokering the 2009 gas deal with Russia.

In a recent investigation, TVi compared the biographies and career trajectory of previously obscure judges in prominent cases. They found that the judges have a lot in common. All are aged around 30 and all were appointed to the Pechersk District Court after President Viktor Yanukovych became president in February 2010. Furthermore, only one judge involved in trials against former government officials had completed the requisite five years before being granted tenured status as a judge.

It is worth noting that in October 2011, the Venice Commission in its recommendations on amendments to the law on the judicial system was quite unequivocal on this point: “During this first temporary appointment, judges have less room for independence from the political power, both executive and legislative. It should be ensured that judges in these temporary positions cannot be appointed to deal with major cases with strong political implications.” (para. 49).

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