It’s no secret that Ukraine’s reforms have stalled. Reformers both in and out of government agree, however, that the one change that might reignite the country’s push for reform is the establishment of an independent anticorruption court. Ukraine’s beleaguered activists have urged the government to adopt it, and the West led by the International Monetary Fund has made it an absolute condition for more assistance.
On September 15 at the Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference in Kyiv, President Petro Poroshenko rejected the idea of an independent anticorruption court. Pointing to anticorruption courts in Kenya, Uganda, Croatia, and Malaysia, he claimed that they are ineffective. (He conveniently left out Indonesia, whose anticorruption commission has successfully conducted investigations, including one that involved a high-ranking official and public procurement expenditures.) Instead Poroshenko wants to form an anticorruption “chamber” within the ordinary court system.
In a classic debater’s trick, he turned the question around by asking, “Does the United States have an anticorruption court?”