Fears that the High Council of Justice (HCJ) will stop working have given rise to a tendency for judges to be dismissed, Head of the Supreme Court Valentuna Danishevska has said.
In an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine, answering a question about the trend in the dismissal of judges, Danishevska said: "Just out of fear that the High Council of Justice would stop its operation, an outflow of staff has begun. The judicial system lacked over 2,000 judges and now this figure is increasing. At the beginning of September, up to 30 judges per week were dismissed."
Danishevska said that, first of all, judges who are approaching the age limit for tenure are being dismissed, as "they risk not getting being able to resign if the HCJ stops working."
"The judges who are tired of these vicissitudes are also leaving. And these are the judges who have successfully passed the qualification assessment. The lack of a sufficient number of judges, the constantly increasing number of cases, indiscriminate criticism from the authorities, the media and the public are the reasons why judges are leave the judicial system," the Supreme Court's head said.
Danishevska said the judiciary does not deny the facts of specific violations by judges, but constant accusations against judges "make the judicial system vulnerable."
"In general, at times it seems that we do not see any interest both on the part of the authorities and the public in the judicial system being truly independent," the court's head said.
Danisheska also drew attention to the critical situation with the judges on Donbas contact line.
"The situation is difficult throughout the country. The system is already missing a third of judges. The fact that justice is not being carried out on the contact line (in eastern Ukraine) has made the situation more acute, as the need in those regions is more acute. At first, the premises were destroyed, now this problem has been solved and it is necessary to launch the work of the court, and the judge of this court no longer has powers [...]. Without the HCJ, we will not transfer the judge to Avdiyivka, because only HCJ has the authority to do this," the Supreme Court's head said.