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Juncker drops demand for Ukraine anti-corruption court, draws criticism

The European Commission has dropped its demand for the creation of an independent anti-corruption court in Ukraine and will be satisfied with an anti-corruption chamber within the existing judiciary, its head Jean-Claude Juncker announced on July 13 in Kyiv upon the conclusion of the two-day Ukraine-EU summit. Although the president and parliament have made progress in fighting corruption, the situation remains unsatisfactory, Juncker said. “Investors won’t come to Ukraine if you don’t destroy corruption at all levels,” he said. “And that’s supposed to be the most important battle for which we will devote all our efforts and financial support.”

Later that day, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) heavily criticized Juncker's position and claimed that there is no alternative to creating the independent anti-corruption court. Juncker’s endorsement of an anti-corruption chamber “is the result of a disinformation campaign targeted towards Ukraine’s European partners,” NABU statement said. Creating anti-corruption chambers in Ukraine’s existing unreformed courts negates the purpose of the anti-corruption court, the statement said. "The creation of anti-corruption chambers will not only fail to solve the problem of the absence of sentences against top corrupt officials, but will deepen it," the bureau stated. The same day, European MP Rebecca Harms expressed surprise at Juncker’s announcement, tweeting "I don't know a good alternative.”

Zenon Zawada: We agree with the NABU position that there’s no point in creating anti-corruption chambers in existing Ukrainian courts. The bureau’s work itself is evidence that creating independent bodies is a step forward in Ukrainian law enforcement. And we share Harms’s surprise that the EU leadership changed its position during the summit. With its decision, the EU belied its alleged commitment to fighting corruption in Ukraine and undermined progress.

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