Thursday, April 03, 2008

Good day to bury a dirty deed

President Yushchenko, perhaps using President Bush's visit and the Bucharest NATO bash as cover, today restored the disgraceful Syuzanna Stanik to her previous post as a Constitutional Court judge, by Presidential ukaz.

Scandals involving alleged bribe-taking swirled around the dreadful Stanik [see photo] throughout last summer. I posted on these matters several times.

She has in the past even administered a 'judicial slap' or two to opponents when required.

One can only assume that in order for her to return to the CC, she must have handed in her broomstick and black pointy hat, and sworn complete loyalty to the pres. Ironic... considering that he had sacked her as head of the the Constitutional Court last May for breaking her oath of office. What a fool the man is..


Anonymous said...

Levko, The principles of rule of law re clear and trial by innuendo and trail by media is not the signs of as just democratic society. The Courts made a correct determination. Yushchenko has illegal dismissed Stanik in what was a clearly a direct attempt by the President to pervert the course of justice by interfering with the operation of Ukraine Constitutional Court in order to prevent the Court from ruling on the legality of his decrees dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected parliament. Yushchenko had discussed three constitutional court judges. Two of the judges later resigned under political pressure.

Allegations made against Stanik in the media are serious allegation but the question has to be asked when did the president first become aware of these ligation and why did not apply the correct and proper procedure to have these issues address? and what about the other judges that he dismissed?

Under Ukraine's constitution the courts are supposedly independent from potential interference. Yushchenko clearly breached his oath of office by acting illegally and unconstitutionally in dismissing judges appointed to the Court. The head of state, more then anyone else, must be see to be acting legally and constitutionally at all times.

The allegations made against Susanna Stanik are just that allegations. Judge Stanik is entitled to a fair trial and should not be subjected to a political witch hunt or trial be media.

On April 19 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution in consideration of a report titled Functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine. (Items 13 and 14) stated:

“ The Assembly deplores the fact that the judicial system of Ukraine has been systematically misused by other branches of power and that top officials do not execute the courts’ decisions, which is a sign of erosion of this crucial democratic institution. An independent and impartial judiciary is a precondition for the existence of a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Hence the urgent necessity to carry out comprehensive judicial reform, including through amendments to the constitution.

The Assembly reiterates that the authority of the sole body responsible for constitutional justice – the Constitutional Court of Ukraine – should be guaranteed and respected. Any form of pressure on the judges is intolerable and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted. On the other hand, it is regrettable that in the eight months of its new full composition, the Constitutional Court has failed to produce judgments, thus failing to fulfil its constitutional role and to contribute to resolving the crisis in its earlier stages, which undermines the credibility of the court.

There is an urgent need for all pending judgments, and in particular the judgment concerning the constitutionality of the Presidential Decree of 2 April 2007, to be delivered. If delivered, the latter should be accepted as binding by all sides. ”

The associated explanatory report under the sub-heading of Pressure on the courts expressed concern that "Several local courts have made decisions to suspend the Presidential Decree only to then withdraw them, allegedly under pressure from the presidential secretariat." (item 67)

In emphasis the report (item 68) stated

"This is a worrying tendency of legal nihilism that should not be tolerated. It is as clear as day that in a state governed by the rule of law judicial mistakes should be corrected through appeal procedures and not through threats or disciplinary sanctions ”

On April 30, on the eve of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the legality of the president's decree dismissing Ukraine's parliament, President Yushchenko, in defiance of the PACE resolution of April 19 intervened in the operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court by summarily dismissing two Constitutional Court Judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy, for allegations of "oath treason." His move was later overturned by the Constitutional Court and the judges were returned by a temporary restraining order issued by the court.

Ukraine's supreme court has made a correct ruling i that the president's dismissal was illegal. If this had occurred in the wets it would have made front page news. If the president had politically interfered in the independence and operations of the US Courts the president would be subjected to a congressional inquiry and would be facing impeachment proceedings. There ca be no more serious offence then a president acting unjustly and unconstitutionally.

Under Ukraine's constitution the president, unlike members of the parliament of judiciary, has absolute immunity and can only be held accountable by a vote of 2/3rds majority of the parliament.

If democratic values are to prevail the Yushchenko should face a parliamentary inquiry or resign.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court has reinstated Syuzanna Stanik to the Constitutional Court, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on March 27. The court announced that its ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

LEvko said...

Thanks for your detailed comment. I agree with you that the president acted improperly in dismissing the VR last year, so creating a dangerous precedent for the future.

I do believe though that because there are so many serious unresolved allegations against Syuzanna Stanik, she should not have been reinstated to the CC. There must be other suitable alternative candidates.

The investigative journalism of publications such as 'Obozrevatel' are vital for the functioning of a healthy democracy. Their spotlight on Judge Stanik, contributed I believe, perhaps for the first time in contemporary Ukrainian history, to a senior figure of state being dismissed due to exposure in the media.

In Western democracies investigations of wrongdoing of important persons by the media is considered quite normal and healthy, e.g. Watergate, revelations of misleading reports on weapons of mass destruction in the Iraq debacle, the Monica Lewinski affair etc. etc.

In a country as endemically corrupt as Ukraine, a vibrant media performs a particularly important function. Since the orange revolution, the country's media have certainly improved in this regard.

Anonymous said...

As the anon poster noted, the UA Supreme Court reinstated Stanik and so the Pres. followed procedure (little choice in the matter.) And then completely within the law, dismissed Stanik again. Perhaps LEvko, you were a bit hasty in your condemnation?

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what this means?

Did he revoke his decree that appointed her, thus attempting to find another legally-justified means to remove her from the court?

Some (confusing) coverage here:

Anonymous said...

The President reinstated Stanik by order of the CC, He had no choice, Its half truths such as the one you implied in your article that make this blog a joke, You sir, are the Fool.

Unknown said...

The issue of what the president did is irrelevant. The issue is the $12,000,000 gift the PR party gave to her family. She even admitted receiving it. In Western countries she would have been impeached...and jailed.

Anonymous said...


I agree the allegations against Stanik are serious |BUT they are at this stage just allegation. What about t6he other two judges that were forced to resign? and again the timing of the presidential decree was highly questionable. decisions of the CC are made by a majority of the Court. Yushchenko's interference in the operation and independence court has politicked the court. The CC court still has not ruled on the question of the legality of the President's decree.

It appears that the CC is not prepared to rule in favour of the president and rather then be placed in a p[position of ruling against the president they are prepared to not rule at all. Leave the question unanswered. All Yushchenko had to do was to change the balance of power and allow the policy of no response to apply.

Yushchenko's recent attempts at seeking a second slice of the cherry is further evidence of Presidents unsuitability to provide democratic governance.

Stanik has the right to defend herself against the allegations made and it is in the interest of Ukraine that the evidence is tabled and presented in a court of ;aw or subjected to a judicial review of her piers. Proper process and rule of law must prevail. Anything short of a proper process and judicial review only further undermines Yushchenko's credibility to remain Ukraine's Head of State and his claim to promote democratic values.

Anonymous said...

Decisions of the Constitutional Court and the supreme Court, unlike decisions of the President, are made by more then one person and are supposedly based on the principles of rule of law. Decisions are written up and the basis of the rulings are published for all to see. Susana Stanik is but one judge. Having been appointed a judge of the |Constitutional Court she falls under the provisions of Chapter XII of Ukraine's constitution and the right of protection under the constitution to ensure that the Court remains independent and free from [political interference. yushchenko has clearly comprised that independence and as such breached his own oath of office and Ukraine's constitution.

You can not defend democracy by acting undemocratically or unconstitutional. The comments by other users that are prepared to forsake proper process and rule of law only perpetuates the understanding of Ukraine being a lawless state

Anonymous said...

Kyiv Post editorial April 10, 2008


The legal stretchmarks left over from last year’s governmental crisis convinced many that President Viktor Yushchenko is more interested in keeping power than adhering to Ukrainian law. Though his decision to dismiss parliament was questionable, his tactics in preventing a Constitutional Court ruling on the matter were outrageous, plucking dissenting judges from the bench.

The saga lingers to this day, and Yushchenko’s conduct is once again questionable. The Supreme Court of Ukraine re-appointed Suzanna Stanik to the Constitutional Court in a March 25 decision, the same judge at the center of last year’s scandal. Yushchenko’s reaction was standard political maneuvering from Presidential Secretariat Chair Viktor Baloha.

The president accepted the Court’s decision by re-appointing Stanik on April 2, before dismissing her the next day, canceling the decree by former President Leonid Kuchma appointing her in the first place. The Secretariat also alleged Stanik never took her oath of office.

The presidential office should be concerned about corrupt judges, but it shouldn’t stretch Ukraine’s laws for a quick political fix. Attempting to annul a previous president’s decree from the moment it was issued, with a single signature, is legal nonsense. If Ukraine's leaders can't exercise self-discipline and compromise in resolving political disputes, then a strong checks and balances system must be forged. Making constitutional and judicial reform a top priority will help further that cause.

Anonymous said...

Judges may be either appointed or elected to office, and hold office for specified terms or for life. However they are chosen, it is vital that they be independent of the nation`s political authority to ensure their impartiality. Judges cannot be removed for trivial or merely political reasons, but only for serious crimes or misdeeds--and then only through a formal procedure, such as impeachment (the bringing of charges) and trial in the legislature. .