Facebook/Pavlo Vovk

The High Anti-Corruption Court has warranted coercive measures to ensure appearance in court of a chief judge of the Kyiv District Administrative Court, Pavlo Vovk, who is suspected of corruption-related offenses.

The court hearing, which Vovk has been consistently evading, is set to select a measure of restraint for the suspect.

The corresponding decision to enforce Vovk's appearance was handed down on Wednesday, February 3, press secretary of the HACC, Olesia Chemeris, has said in a comment to UNIAN.

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Read alsoAnti-graft watchdog puts Kyiv court's top judge on wanted listEarlier today, suspect Vovk once again failed to report to the hearing, and neither did he explain to the court the reason for doing so, the court's press release says.

"At the hearing, the prosecutor with the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office filed a motion to forcibly bring the said person to court. The investigating judge has granted the motion," the statement says.

It is noted that the warrant shall be executed by the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, which had completed a pre-trial investigation in the Vovk case.

Charges against Judge Vovk: Background

On July 26, 2019, transcripts and audio of wiretapped communications were published on NABU's website, purporting the unlawful interference by judges of Kyiv's District Administrative Court (OASK) in the work of the High Qualification Commission of Judges. This included creating obstacles to the qualification assessment of judges of the said court for compliance with the position held. During the vetting, it is not only the level of professional skills that is checked, but also the origin of the judges' assets and their involvement in corruption scandals.

The Prosecutor General's Office said the unlawful influence was recorded on decision-making by the Constitutional Court, the High Qualification Commission of Judges, the High Council of Justice, as well as the impact on Ukraine's ministries, departments, and the State Bureau of Investigation.

On August 2, 2019, the PGO filed charges against Chair Pavlo Vovk, judges Yevhen Ablov and Ihor Pohribnychenko, as well as a judge of the Suvorov District Court of Odesa, Ivan Shepitko, all of whom appear in the NABU wiretaps.

In November, the then Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka said the investigation targeting Vovk had been completed and the case had been forwarded to court.

However, the High Council of Justice dismissed the prosecutor general's motion to deprive Vovk of the functions of administering justice in connection with the ongoing criminal proceeding targeting him.

On January 21, 2020, Vovk was re-elected as Chairman of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv.

On July 17, 2020, searches were held at the OASK premises in Kyiv, as well as at the State Judicial Administration.

According to the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO), the investigation targets a 12-strong criminal organization, led by the OASK chairman, who aimed to seize state power by establishing control over the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the High Council of Justice, and by creating artificial obstacles in their work.

On August 11, NABU put on the list of wanted persons seven defendants in the case of the alleged power seizure conspiracy by the leadership of Kyiv's District Administrative Court who the agency believes grabbed control of the High Qualification Commission of Judges.