On March 8, the Washington-based Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) released “An Appeal for Decisive Action in Ukraine’s Fight Against Corruption”.

The Foundation applauds that Ukraine has done more on reform in many sectors over the last four years than in the previous two decades, noting that "it needs to show greater leadership, effort and commitment to combat the pervasive, long-standing corruption that exists and has existed in public and private life".

"This was a principal demand of the Maidan Revolution of Dignity, and surveys show this remains a top priority of the people of Ukraine," the appeal reads.

Read alsoUPDATED: Ukraine's bill on anti-corruption court passes its first readingDiplomats and experts "strongly urge the Verkhovna Rada and the Ukrainian government to take immediate and urgent action on a number of priorities, including creating a specialized and independent anti-corruption court of the highest integrity in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and conditions of the IMF program, supporting and not undermining the work of and ending the politically motivated attacks on the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine and Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office, reforming the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, and rescind the controversial clause in the existing anti-corruption law requiring those engaged in anti-corruption activities to file yearly asset declarations.

It is noted that politicians should not see the upcoming elections as an excuse to delay or compromise advancing these and other reforms.

Read alsoHigh profile prosecutor says launching anti-corruption court in 2018 impossibleThe appeal was signed by Anders Aslund of the Atlantic Council, ex-Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Michael Carpenter, former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine William Miller, Steven Pifer and William Taylor, and others.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on March 1, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the first reading the draft law "On the High Anti-Corruption Court", submitted by the president on December 22.

Minister of Finance Oleksandr Danyliuk believes the bill will pass its second reading as early as April.

According to NABU Director Artem Sytnyk, the adoption of the law on the ACC before late March will allow actually launching it before the end of this year. Ukraine's international partners, as well as NGOs, have previously expressed their claims to the bill, in particular, as regards limitations of the role of international experts as advisers in the selection and appointment of judges.

In the opinion of international partners, including the International Monetary Fund, the full-fledged role of international experts in the appointment of judges is the key to the ACC independence and its ability to effectively perform its functions.

The creation of an anti-corruption court in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission is one of the conditions for Ukraine's continued cooperation with the IMF, which is necessary to repay the country's external debts in the coming years.

According to an Atlantic Council expert Anders Aslund, the termination of cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF will lead to a significant devaluation of the hryvnia.