Kyiv District Administrative Court / Photo from UNIAN

The High Council of Justice returned without consideration three of the prosecutor general's motions for the temporary suspension of judges of the Kyiv District Administrative Court (KDAK) and turned down two more.

That's according to the HCJ statement of September 1, RFE/RL reports.

The HCJ decisions concern deputy KDAC chairman Yevhen Ablov and judges Ihor Pohribnichenko, Oleksiy Ohurtsov, Ihor Kachur, and Volodymyr Keleberda.

Read alsoHead of Kyiv District Administrative Court Pavlo Vovk put on wanted listThe HCJ returned without consideration the motion on Pohribinchenko, Keleberda, and Ohurtsov, allegedly due to a claimed "violation of the procedure for pressing charges".

The HCJ did consider the motions on Ablov and Kachura, but came to the conclusion that the evidence presented against the judges had allegedly been obtained in violation of the Criminal Procedure Code, and that the risks their continued operations pose were "not justified".

Also, the HCJ said the data on its own ties to the KDAC, which the National Anti-corruption Bureau made public on September 1, was not attached to the motions filed by Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.

"The publication on the NABU website of materials not attached to the Prosecutor General's motions, considered by HCJ, has signs of influence on the High Council of Justice in an extra-procedural manner, which will be assessed based on the current legislation," the statement said.

Judges attempting to seize state power: case background

  • On July 17, NABU raided the Kyiv District Administrative Court (KDAK) and the State Judicial Administration (SJA). Later, NABU detectives charged Court Chairman Pavlo Vovk, his deputy Yevhen Ablov, five judges, and SJA head Zenoviy Kholodnyuk with setting up a criminal organization and seizing state power.
  • Later, NABU noted that another four persons were set to be charged.
  • According to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO), 12 individuals, led by the KDAC chair, acted as part of a criminal organization that aimed to seize state power by establishing control over the Higher Qualification Commission of Judges and the High Council of Justice, and creating artificial obstacles in their work.
  • SAPO claims that members of the criminal organization have been handing down tailored rulings serving their own interests, as well as in the interests of political and business elites.
  • Later, Vovk and the chairman of State Judicial Administration Kholodniuk stated that they had not been served with charge papers.
  • On August 11, NABU announced that seven defendants had been put on the wanted list in the case of an alleged seizure of state power by the Kyiv District Administrative Court leadership: Pavlo Vovk, Volodymyr Keleberda, Ihor Kachura, Mykola Sirosh, Ihor Pohribnichenko, Oleksiy Ohurtsov, and Serhiy Ostapets.
  • On August 12, the Kyiv District Administrative Court's press service said the "wanted" judges were at their workplaces.