According to the judges, the actions of the Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov testify to direct interference in the activities of judges in the administration of justice, writes SUG.
On February 28, 2023, the panel of judges of the South-Western Economic Court of Appeal, in accordance with part four of Article 48 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges”, appealed to the High Council of Justice and the Prosecutor General with a notification of interference in their activities in the administration of justice.
Considering that, according to the statistics of the court, the quantitative indicator of court cases involving the Odessa City Council and its structural divisions in different years ranged from 20% to 30% of the total number of cases, including the relevant cases currently being processed by judges, this The issue was decided to bring to the discussion of the meeting of judges.
Based on the results of the discussion of this message, the team of judges of the Southwestern Economic Court of Appeal at its meeting on March 2, 2023 unanimously decided to support the appeal of colleagues and also apply to the High Council of Justice and the Prosecutor General regarding interference in the administration of justice by judges.
As noted in the message of the judges, the court was considering the appeal of the Odessa City Council and the Executive Committee of the Odessa City Council by decision of the Economic Court of the Odessa Region dated June 28, 2022 in case No. 916/3698/20.
The claims of the claim in the case consisted in declaring illegal and canceling the decision of the Executive Committee of the Odessa City Council No. 237 dated 07/03/2020, on the basis of which the ownership of the facility was registered – a public building (100%), without taking into account the presence of a valid and registered at the time of the consideration of the case ownership of certain parts of this object by another person.
Trukhanov’s pressure on judges: appeal
The appeal was based on two video appeals of the Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov, as a representative of the local government and a public person, to the citizens of the city of Odessa, which were posted in public access on official resources: https://t.me/odesacityofficial/15102 and You-Tube channel of the Odessa City Council – Dumskaya, 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpajgzB31eg and further replicated on local telegram channels.
The main points of the video messages were as follows:
- today’s decision is the actual legalization of the crime;
- since 2015, no legal procedure, decision of the Executive Committee or session has been challenged;
- we will turn to the VRP and do everything within the law to restore justice;
- in wartime, this decision is not only against the city, but also against the whole of Ukraine;
- Our position is clear and transparent: Russov’s building belongs to the inhabitants of Odessa. And while the military is fighting at the front, we must fight for our rights on the home front: to protect our property, including from such “immigrant adventurers”;
- we saved it and kept it for the inhabitants of Odessa, so that it will belong only to the inhabitants of Odessa, and personally I will stand to the end;
- the court session lasted 3 minutes;
- the court sided with a man known for his numerous frauds and who is on the international wanted list.
In the address, the judges emphasize that the Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov is also the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Odessa city council, which, in turn, is the defendant in this case.
At the same time, according to the analysis of the video messages of the Odessa mayor to the citizens of the city of Odessa, it is seen, firstly, as ignorance of the subject of claims in the case, which was commented on by the public, and in general about the very procedure of its trial.
The issue of recognition of ownership of any other person was not considered at all and was not decided by the court in the framework of the consideration of this case. At the same time, the litigation concerned only the assessment of the legitimacy of the state registration of one hundred percent of the ownership of the building, provided that there is another, not legally terminated, ownership of a part of this building by another person, the provision of an assessment to which was not included in the subject of this case, but to be clarified in other court cases.
The untrue and manipulative statement about the consideration of the court dispute in just 3 (three) minutes distorts the real consideration of the case, since the case was considered in court sessions from 09/15/2022, and breaks were repeatedly announced in it, in particular, and at the request of the Odessa City Council and the Executive Committee Odessa City Council.
Such public statements create an incorrect and negative image in the public about the organization of the work of the courts, meanwhile, all procedural documents of the court, in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Court Decisions”, are made public in the Unified State Register of Court Decisions in the public domain.
Secondly, through video messages, Odessa mayor Gennady Trukhanov actually gave a legal assessment of the court decision in a public plane and in a non-procedural way, accusing the court of criminal acts.
At the same time, the first video was generally aimed at encouraging judges to adopt in the future (namely the following) a specific court decision in favor of the defendants, while the case was still in the proceedings of the panel of judges, and the dispute was not resolved on the merits.
According to the judges, drawing a parallel with the war in the country is generally cynical, given the fact that the essence of the litigation arose long before the military invasion of Ukraine, and war is the pain of every conscious Ukrainian.
So, in fact, these videos were aimed at formulating a negative attitude towards the court and the court decision in society, the full text of which at the time of the second video message had not even been compiled and published yet.
These video messages are still in the public domain, distributed by media representatives, including on social networks, on local Telegram channels, and have become available to an indefinite circle of people.
As noted by the judges, such actions on the part of the Odessa mayor testify to:
- direct interference in the activities of judges in the administration of justice;
- attempts to influence the impartiality of the panel of judges and the judgment in a non-procedural way in order to induce a future judgment in favor of the defendants;
- discrediting, undermining the authority of judges, the court and justice in general.
In addition, the judges emphasized that in the video appeals a person was deliberately personalized, who, in fact, was not personally a participant in the court proceedings, however, it is well known that recently there has been a request from the society regarding the assessment of his activities by the competent authorities, to which, according to the law, neither the court , neither the Odessa City Council are related, which in turn is a direct manipulation of public opinion.
In accordance with the provisions of international and national legislation – the court is one of the three branches of power of a democratic state, which are complementary, and none of them is “supreme” and does not dominate the others.
Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On the judiciary and the status of judges” obliges state authorities and local governments, their officials to refrain from statements and actions that may undermine the independence of the judiciary.
Judges take into account that any complaint about the actions of judges cannot be regarded as interference or pressure on a judge, since such an appeal is an inalienable constitutional right.
The legislation practically does not restrict the rights of individuals to file complaints with the High Council of Justice. At the same time, the Law of Ukraine “On the judiciary and the status of judges” warns against the abuse of the right to file complaints against a judge, including as a means of pressure on him in connection with the administration of justice.
At the same time, when commenting on the decision of judges, the executive branch should avoid groundless criticism that could undermine the independence of the judiciary or public confidence in it.
However, in this case, assessing the above-mentioned actions of the mayor in their entirety, his emphasis in the second video on his intention to apply to the High Council of Justice is actually a threat to the outcome of the case.
The meeting of judges is convinced that such public statements are a direct threat to the judges of the Southwestern Economic Court of Appeal, since in fact they are aimed at usurping the judicial branch of power, establishing total control over it in order to subdue one’s own will, which directly contradicts the principles enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine and provides criminal liability for interference in any form in the activities of a judge. And testifies to the pressure of Trukhanov.
Appealing to the High Council of Justice, judges are asked to take real measures to ensure the principle of independence of judges guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine, to prevent behavior that can be regarded as influence and interference in the activities of a judge in the administration of justice and the Prosecutor General to provide legal qualifications for the actions of the chairman of the Odessa City Council on article 376 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Natalia Mamchenko, translation Skeleton.Info
DOSSIER: Gennady Trukhanov: governor of the Odessa mafia. Part 1