Cherkasy judge asks guarantees for judges, reporting on pressure
Judge of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region Serhiy Bondarenko calls on the state leadership to provide guarantees to the judges, who will report on interference in the work of judges by heads of the courts.
Judge Serhiy Bondarenko stated this near the Main Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s of Ukraine, where he came to give evidence in the case over harassment of Euromaidan activists, the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent reports.
“I would like to ask the leadership of our country to publicly give guarantees to the judges, who will agree to change the judicial system, agree to give evidence, including on Maidan cases. Give them the guarantees that they will not experience the same things I experience now. I think the judges will give testimony then. If there are no guarantees, then the problem of investigations into Maidan cases and many others related to the pressure on the court will never be settled. It is not profitable for anyone. Why do they say that the court is closed, that the judges do not want to testify while talking on the sidelines about pressure on them. But tell me, will the judges testify, seeing what they do to me? I have resorted to the prosecutor, the bodies of judicial self-government. What is the result? I guess you’ve heard how I was presented in the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region,” Serhiy Bondarenko noted.
As reported, during the court hearing in Oleksandrivka village, Kirovohrad region, judge of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy region Serhiy Bondarenko told about longstanding and systematic interference in his work as a judge on part of the court leadership. Head of the Court Volodymyr Babenko and chief of staff Olena Striletska deny their interference.
Responding to the question by the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent whether the Prosecutor General’s Office responded to the inadequate investigation by the prosecutor’s office of Cherkasy region, Serhiy Bondarenko said there was no reaction.
“I have appealed to the Prosecutor General with a request to merge two criminal proceedings. The first case concerned the arson attack on my car, and the second was over the interference in my activities as a judge. I also asked to take the investigation out of Cherkasy region as it is impossible to carry out the necessary investigative actions in Cherkasy region. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the head of the Court of Appeal or a judge, appointed by the head, should give permission for conduct the necessary secret investigative actions. I received the letter from the Prosecutor General’s Office saying that they had redirected my appeal to Cherkasy region. The regional prosecutor’s office wrote to me that they did not see the reason for merging two cases. The issue about taking the case out of Cherkasy region was not considered at all. And the court, which considered the complaint, wrote that my question was not resolved,” Serhiy Bondarenko said.
Being inspired by the fidelity of judge Serhiy Bondarenko to his principles, lawyer of Automaidan Roman Maselko stated he would defend all the judges, who would give evidence of the crimes in the judicial system.
“The cases over harassment of Euromaidan activists lack evidence. There are no data from the system. Everyone knows why it happened so. Judge Bondarenko is the man who dared to go against the system and began to tell what is happening there. We really believe that there are many honest, decent and fair judges who want to deliver lawful and fair judgements but they are not let do that. If they oppose the system, they are simply destroyed. Therefore, we will support each judge who will be ready to resist pressure and give evidence. I urge these judges to unite, to communicate, and support each other. We have already achieved a lot. The issue of judge Bondarenko has not been considered by the Council of Judges of Ukraine since October. Today, it is on the agenda… We have already found three more judges, who are willing to give evidence. We will break this system from within. We will give the opportunity for fair and honest judges to influence the process, not vice versa. These judges should know that they have support of the society, the government, and that these cases will be properly investigated. Then the system will begin to be cleaned, and the trust in it will exceed the current level of 1.1%,” lawyer Roman Maselko concluded.