“Today Ukraine’s judicial system has clearly proven again that it must be profoundly and immediately reformed,” said Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha on Monday when commenting on a recent decision of the Kyiv Pechersk Court to find Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko guilty of corruption activities.

      Mr. Baloha said the court “was unable to find any mercenary interests in the actions of the official but called him corrupt, although we all know that there is no corruption without personal benefits.” He also added that the court used materials from the case which had earlier been closed by the Prosecutor General’s Office.

      “This fact made me come to the sad conclusion about illegal motives of the preferred charges. I will be straightforward: there is a brutal campaign to discredit the incumbent Interior Minister, the eminent member of President Victor Yushchenko’s ‘orange’ team, and it is obviously aimed at squeezing him out," he said.

      He also said the department of the Prosecutor General’s Office led by Rinat Kuzmin had investigated the Lutsenko case “too hastily” but failed to investigate other controversial criminal cases.

      “The country is resentful at a series of ordered murders, affecting innocent people; each Ukrainian knows about arrogant raider attacks on private companies. However, the Prosecutor General’s Office remains silent when it must demonstrate its knowledge and skills," he said.

      Mr. Baloha expressed hopes the verdict would be reconsidered at a higher court. He also reiterated that the President "fully supports" his minister.