15 August 2011

A 25 Year Old Judge?

We always try to focus on business, but its difficult these days to avoid commenting on some of the information that arrives in the inbox.

The case against Yevhen Korniychuk

Everyone is focusing on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko. But there are others who are being investigated.

Yevhen Korniychuk is a lawyer by profession, specialising in international finance and business law. He was elected to Parliament and became in 2006 chairman of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party, following his father in law Vasyl Onopenko, a judge by profession who was elected president of the Ukrainian Supreme Court. From 2007 -2010 he was First Deputy Minister of Justice in the Yulia Timoshenko government.

He is charged with violation of art. 365, paragraph 3, of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (excess of authority or official powers that caused grave consequences) for in his capacity of First Deputy Minister of Justice having issued a legal opinion or law interpretation about the possible use of a single-source public procurement procedure. It concerned the procurement by the National Joint Venture Company “Naftogaz” of legal assistance to be provided by the legal firm Magisters, at which Mr. Korniychuk used to be a senior partner, however at that time had no longer financial or business contact. The formal permission to use this procedure was given by the Ministry of Economy and the contract was signed by Naftogaz. He is also charged with having violated Article 366, paragraph 2 (forgery in office that caused grave consequences) as the mentioned document was not properly filed in the Ministry of Justice. His actions are claimed to have brought losses to the state as other legal firms could have supplied the legal assistance at a lower cost.

Here is the rub. The judge dealing with his case is a 25 year old woman.

A 25 year old judge is dealing with one of the most important ‘political’ cases in Ukraine.

Forgive me but I doubt if a 25 year old has enough training and legal background to deal with a case like this. If fact I'm not aware of any other 25 year old judges in 'civilised countries'

How on earth can other countries be expected to take Ukraine seriously?

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