Ukraine’s Judicial Institutions: A Primer 

Logo of the High Anti-Corruption Court of UkraineHigh Anti-Corruption Court (HACC): Created in 2018 to prosecute corruption cases, especially those involving political figures. What makes this court distinct is the involvement of the Public Council of International Experts (PICE), a group of non-Ukrainian advisors who can block judicial candidates from serving on the court if there are concerns about a person’s integrity. It began its work in September 2019, and it is supported by international actors including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the European Union.

National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU)/Національне Антикорупційне Бюро України (НАБУ): Formed in October 2014, NABU investigates high-level corruption cases, including those against sitting justices. It is this practice that brings it under such close scrutiny by several courts in Ukraine. However, it does not prosecute cases. Only the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO; part of the office of the Prosecutor General) oversees NABU’s cases and prosecutes them. 

National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC)/Національне агентство з питань запобігання корупції (НАЗК): Formed March 2015, it is the government institution that addresses questions of policy regarding anti-corruption, and it implemented the asset declaration system that creates oversight on public figures. 

High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ): Assesses candidates for judicial positions. It administers assessments, interviews candidates and gathers information from related institutions. It is assisted by the Public Integrity Council (PIC), which helps determine the eligibility of a judicial candidate by evaluating that candidate’s ethics and integrity. While the PIC can make recommendations about a candidate and reject that candidate on ethical grounds, the HQCJ is not required to consider the PIC’s position if 11 of the 16 members of the HQCJ support the candidate. 

High Council of Justice: Established in 2017 by Petro Poroshenko, the Council took over the function of appointing judges from Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), allegedly to take any political influence out of the appointment process. The High Council of Justice makes the final decisions about judicial candidates and sends a list of judges to the president, who must confirm the appointment of those judges within 30 days of receipt.