Dynasty: Judge clans
- Тарас Зозулінський
Judges are a big friendly Family who will never eat each other, - I was reminded of the phrase by one of the Lviv militiamen. Only here - not in full does it convey the true state of affairs of the local legal elite. Because, as it turned out, this "Family" of people in the mantle includes prosecutors, police, and attorneys with notaries. Their family ties are close and intertwined. They work as a single coherent mechanism. The name of which is "Dynasty".
From father to son
"... Your request for public information about whether I know that the strip club "White Cockatoo" is a brothel, was sent to the Pustomyty District Court of Lviv region," Volodymyr Musiyevsky, the head of this court, wrote to me.
The same one that got into a not-so-pleasant story at the end of 2015. Lviv patrol officers caught him drunk in a car. The case went to court. It was considered by judge of Lychakiv district court of Lviv Galyna Sheremeta. Was denied to bringing Mr. Musievsky to the admin. responsibility and the case closed. Galyna Sheremet concluded and agreed with V. Musiyevsky's position that he did not drive the vehicle while intoxicated. He was only in the car.
By the way, Judge Musiyevsky was drinking at the White Cockatoo nightclub. The network of these establishments in Lviv and Kharkiv was better known as strip bars. And in 2016, police conducted a series of arrests and opened several criminal proceedings. Law enforcement officers found that houses of fornication (brothels) were operating under the cover of these clubs.
(Chairman of the Pustomitivskiy District Court of Lviv V.Musievsky.
Screen shot from Global Age News Agency TV)
At my request, Mr. Musiyevsky notes: “… I had no doubts about the legality of the club's activities. I did not have any information on the activity of this institution than what is publicly available. ”
The logic of the judge is simple, since he was vacationing in the White Cockatoo at the end of 2015, and law enforcement officers found brothels in this network in 2016, so he did not know and could not know about these brothels.
By the way, the case against the organizers-owners of this illegal business was considered by the mentioned judge Galyna Sheremety. Such is the coincidence in the division of cases in the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv.
But there is one important point in all of these events. Galyna Sheremeta was appointed a judge back in 1996. But the father of our hero, Evgeniy Musievsky, has served as a judge since 1993, and since 2009 he has been the chairman of the Lviv Zaliznychnyi District Court. To assume that they were not familiar with each other, in so many years of working in one city, is extremely difficult. Here I was able to find information on the website of the Territorial Department of the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine in the Lviv region that G. Sheremeta (deputy chairman of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv) and E. Musievsky participated in one of the meetings.
(Judge of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv, G. Sheremeta.
used a screenshot from a TV channel ZIK story)
But in the courts, we have a computerized division of cases. In Pustomitivskiy District Court, this is a coincidence. Randomness. The cases go to court, where one of the parties, such as Mr L., and all of them are assigned to Vladimir Musiyevsky. Three cases, the same person involved, and they all go to the same judge
Late last year, on the complaint of citizen M.Minaev, the High Council of Justice even opened a disciplinary case against Judge Musiyevsky.
At my request to comment and explain how this could happen, Mr Judge wrote in particular: “… According to the Unified Register of Ukrainian Bar, lawyer Minaev M.G. not on the registry. Despite this, on the basis of his complaint, the High Council of Justice opened a disciplinary case against me and, I believe, will carefully study all the circumstances and find out the merits of such allegations ... groundless and unfounded. "
In the meantime, Mr. Musievsky is taking part in the competition for the post of judge of the High Court on Intellectual Property.
And about the father of our hero, a retired judge, ex-chairman of the Lviv Zaliznychnyi District Court. In my opinion, Yevgeniy Musievsky can teach a lot of Ukrainian judges in the art of filing declarations. I believe that this scheme can be adopted by any official who does not want to show his property. Because what happened, in my deep conviction, is nothing more than a prime example of hiding real estate.
Thus, being the chairman of the Lviv railway district court, E. Musiyevskyi, in his annual declarations for 2009-2011, never mentioned that he owns either an apartment or a house.
The judge resigns, it takes a while, and in 2015 E. Musievsky appeals to the court with a lawsuit against such a Vadim K.
Yevgeniy Petrovich asks to invalidate the certificate of ownership of a large house in the village of Kholodnovidka near Lviv and to recognize the right to homeownership. From the court's decision it becomes known that Vadim K. in 2010 received and registered ownership in BTI.
So, E. Musiyevsky motivated his claim by the fact that in fact the construction was carried out at his expense, and the defendant did not bear any costs. To confirm, the plaintiff provided receipts and other payment documents.
The defendant's representative filed a statement of claim with the court.
The claim of E. Musiyevsky was fully satisfied and the ownership of the house ownership was recognized.
According to information from the State Register of Real Property Rights and the Register of Real Estate Rights, the area of the house is just over 361 square meters.
So the short summary is to build a house at the expense of a judge. The ownership is made by another person. Accordingly, the judge does not mention that house in his declaration. Subsequently, having retired, through court, he recognizes the ownership of himself.
In my opinion, it is difficult to call the story described apart from concealment from declaring real estate.
There is no end to the judiciary
In Lviv region, that's for sure. After all, in the footsteps of his father, the judge of the Halytsia district court of Lviv, Andriy Gosudarsky, also followed. His dad - Valentin Frantsovich - directed the Court of Appeal of the Lviv region, just think - from 1986 to 2013!
Andreiy Gosudarskyi's sister, Natalia, is a private notary and her husband, Andrei Morozyuk, is a judge at the Commercial Court of Lviv Oblast.
- At the moment when I started working in court in 2012, I was no longer a member of the NGO "Trust Plus", - Andrey Gosudarskiy wrote to me in response to a request.
In my request, I asked why the judge did not indicate in his annual declaration that he was the co-founder of this organization. So, Mr. Gosudarsky insists that he is not a party to the NGO for a long time. Instead, in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs, as of the beginning of 2018, he is still listed as a co-founder of the NGO "Trust Plus".
Moreover, the legal address of this NGO indicates the apartment on the street. Tarnavsky, in Lviv, owned by Judge Gosudarsky - according to information from the State Register of Real Property Rights and the Register of Real Estate Rights.
And on the other hand, what are the judges here to hide? Well, the said organization appealed to the municipal property management department of the Lviv City Council to the court in which Andrei Gosudarsky works. And his colleague, Christina Misko, satisfied the lawsuit, and obliged the City Council officials to conclude a lease with the NGO on the premises in the very center of the city.
- I do not see any conflict of interests in this case, - A.Gosudarsky writes to me. Like, he didn't know about this decision at all, and he didn't care about the question at all.
The peculiar piquancy of this story is "I didn't know, I didn't know". According to information from the State Register of Real Property Rights and the Register of Real Estate Rights, the judge's mother, Alla Gosudarskaya, owns a land plot of 1.1951 hectares in Pustomyty district.
She received it as a result of the settlement agreement, approved by the decision of the Frankivsk District Court, dated 15.12.2015.
And before that, on June 23, 2015, the judge of the Frankivsk District Court Y. Vannivsky made a decision in which he decided to collect from Olena Forrostyuk in favor of the judge's mother $ 24 thousand, equivalent to UAH 514,560, for the funds borrowed in 2008.
According to the aforementioned settlement agreement, due to repayment of this debt, Olena Forrostyuk has transferred the specified land plot to the property of the Gosudarsky's mother.
So, Olena Forostyuk, today, is co-founder and leader of the NGO "Dovira Plus". This is the first.
Second. The purpose of the specified land plot is for conducting commodity agricultural production. Under current law, a moratorium has been imposed on the sale and purchase of this category of land for many years. Therefore, the official purchase of the land Alla Gosudarska could not in any way. Moratorium.
With this in mind, the described story of the land may be a classic case of circumventing the law. This is similar to common practice in Ukraine. The land buyer gives the money to the seller. Make a loan agreement retroactively. Further, the one who wants to buy the land sues - they say they have lent the money and I am not given. Anyone who wants to sell recognizes the claim. Like, I took the money, pure truth. They get their hands on a court decision. And then they conclude a settlement agreement and ask the court to approve it. The actual seller of the land insists that he has no money to take it from, but he has the land and is ready to give it as debt repayment.
I emphasize that there could have been such a development in the story described. But this is only an assumption, and here it could prove whether it was actually law enforcement. But do they need it?
-… I live separately, I live an independent life, - A.Gosudarsky writes to me. - My mother did not tell me anything about the debt and the land. I could not know about the decision of the Frankivsk District Court because my mother did not tell me about it, and I stopped communicating with Olena Romaniyna Forostyuk after ceasing to be a member of the NGO "Trust Plus".
Hryhoriy Hulik, from 2002 to 2012 headed the Commercial Court of Lviv region, and worked as a judge (in the past - an arbitrator) from 1984 to 2014.
In the footsteps of his father went son Andrew. In 2008, Gulik Jr. was appointed Judge by V. Yushchenko.
Today A. Hulik is administering justice in the Lviv Regional Administrative Court.
(Judge of Lviv District Administrative Court A.Hulik.
photo by News Agency "Dyvys.info")
According to his Declaration of Family Relationships of a Judge for 2011 - 2016, his sister - Natalia Hulik, worked as a Registrar at the court sessions of the Lviv Commercial Court of Appeal during that period.
But about the occupation of the sister's husband, Mr. Hulik did not state anything. Although Roman Penkalsky, according to the Unified Register of Advocates of Ukraine, was issued a lawyr's certificate on September 7, 2012.
In addition, according to Youcontrol, he is the co-founder of Penkalsky & Partners.
In order to find out why Andrey Hulik did not include this information in the judge's declarations of family relationships, I wrote him a request. However, the judge replied that there was no reason to provide me with the requested information because he is not the subject of the public access relations.
Accordingly, I did not receive the answer to my second question - who is V. Voroblevsky for the judge. According to the 2016 Declaration, Mr. Hulick uses without money 2011 Volkswagen Passat car owned by this man.
Above, I have cited only three of the most eloquent cases where the children of court leaders also wear a mantle. In fact, it is a mass phenomenon.
“For many years the family business of entering the judicial sphere in Ukraine has not changed. That is a mass event of brothers, matchmakers, godparents, nephews. This process has not stopped completely, ”says human rights activist Yury Tanasychuk.
(Yuriy Tanasychuk, human rights activist)
Solidarity with him the board member of the Reanimation Pack of Reforms, in the past, the judge, Mikhail Zhernakov.
“There is a problem of judicial dynasties, and this is also a circular bailout… There is such a tendency that many relatives are present in the courts, the prosecutor's office and other law enforcement agencies.
I cannot say that this is a problem in itself. The question is how objectively this is. Unlikely. Because for a long time, it was in a non-transparent way: judges were appointed, and very often they came across the principle of family relations, ”M. Zhernakov notes.
“Honor of the uniform”
- “… I am not personally familiar with these persons, and therefore, in the sense of Art. 1 of the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption”, I have no private interest or potential conflict of interest, ”Volodymyr Marmash, judge of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv, replies at the request.
(Judge of Lychakiv District Court of Lviv - V.Marmash.
photo Judicial newspaper)
It somehow coincided, but the judges of this court have repeatedly had to defend the “honor of the uniform”. Judge Marmash took over the baton from Galina Sheremeta, who judged the case her mantle colleague, Musievsky. A few months ago, he closed an administrative offense case against Judge of the Commercial Court of Lviv region Andriy Tsikalo. It was alleged that Tsikalo did not inform the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of any significant changes in the property situation - purchase of a valuable foreign car - Mazda CX-5.
Andriy Tsikalo chose a ridiculously simple line of defense. Like, he bought the car on credit, and therefore it actually does not belong to him.
Judge Marmash disagreed with this position, but closed the case, finding that the police who discovered the story missed deadline. Because the law stipulates that the protocol should be drawn up within three months after the detection of administrative violation. But the police did it beyond the three-month deadline for imposing administrative penalties.
Yes, but who is Judge Marmash unfamiliar with? And here it is already interesting. As I learned from Judge Tsikala's Family Relationship Declaration 2016, his brother's wife, Tsikalo Olena Andreevna, worked as a notary public at the First Lviv State Notary Office.
Along with her at the same institution, a notary was Liush Maria Myhailivna, who is the wife of the deputy chairman of the Lviv Zaiznychniy District Court, Liush Andrei Igorovych.
The same court where Mr Marmash's wife does justice - Ivanyuk Ivanna Dmytrivna.
In view of this, I also asked Judge Marmash to say whether he saw a conflict of interest in the administrative offense case against Judge Tzikalo A.?
He writes that he is not familiar with any of them.
The other side of the coin is also missing the protocol's deadline. Probably, the police would not do too well to do everything in time. After all, the judge's father, Igor Tsikalo, worked in the police from 1987 to 2010. He held the position of Deputy Chief of Police of Lviv Region and led the Lviv Police. His staff would probably be ashamed because of the actions of his law enforcement colleagues where had spent so many years serving his father. The actions that allowed them to prosecute his son.
Human rights defenders are convinced that when Ukrainian judges have to hear cases involving their colleagues, there is no need to speak about justice.
- Corporate solidarity, ie every judge makes a very personal decision when considering a case or considering a case against another judge. He designs the situation on himself, and he understands that the precedent he created today will turn against him tomorrow, - emphasizes Oleg Ilnitsky, an expert at the Center for Legal and Political Studies "SIM".
“The judges are not punished because the system does not surrender. And this has been happening to us not only for the last two years, but for decades, ”adds human rights activist Yuriy Tanasychuk.
“I am your wing”
The Lviv Zaliznychniy District Court can be called a court of “juridical families”. For example, mentioned Andriy Liush. He was appointed Deputy Chairman of this Court in the summer of 2013.
(Lviv Zalianychniy Court Judge A. Liush.
Photo by "Global Ages" News Agency)
"May your cherished dreams, powers, and aspirations come true in your difficult work of serving the Law!" - Mr Liush's court staff congratulated him on his appointment.
It turns out that the “difficult job of serving the law” is about the judge's family. Here, his father, Igor Liush, now lustrated, was able to work in the prosecutor's office for the post of deputy prosecutor of the Lviv region.
The wife of the judge, Maria Liush, worked at the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine in Lviv Oblast before the notary office. By the way, Victor Dayneka, whose wife, Oksana Dayneka, is Judge Liush's cousin, is the head of the institution. By the way, she followed in the footsteps of her uncle - heading the department in the prosecutor's office of the Lviv region.
To my question whether Mr. Deyneka saw a conflict of interest in the above facts, I received a reply that "the information requested is not public".
The chairman of the Lviv Zaliznychniy District Court is Yuriy Borislavsky. He is the son of Lubomir Boryslavsky, associate professor of the Department of Constitutional Law at the Law Faculty of LNU. I. Franko. Probably the same thing happened, because another associate professor of the same department is the wife of Mr. Judge - Olena Markivna. She, like her brother Yuriy Borislavsky, is a lawyer.
And what is it that the father-in-law works at the same department with his daughter-in-law? Here, the judge of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv Nazariy Nor stated in his declaration that he received income from teaching at the Franko LNU. By the way, we are talking about the Department of Criminal Procedure and Criminalistics, headed by the father of the judge - Vasily Timofiyovych.
"It should also be noted that my father did not help me to get a job related to teaching, because he is not empowered to hire any person, and therefore, based on the above, I do not see any conflict of interest in the described situation ”- such a paragraph ended the answer to Judge Nor's request.
But let's go back to the Lviv Zaliznychniy Court. As I stated above, Judge Marmash's wife, Ivanna Ivanyuk, is doing justice here.
(Judge of the Lviv Zaliznychniy Court I. Ivanyuk.
photo by Ivanyuk Ivanny Facebook)
On September 22, 2017, she ruled and found guilty of Zemba Taras Antonovich in committing the administrative offense under Part 2 of the Code. 172-6 of the Administrative Code, imposing the minimum administrative penalty provided for such an offense.
At the same time, Zemba T. was a relative of Zemba Ludmyla Igorivna, who is the co-founder of Tanais-LTD (20852656). According to Youcontrol, another co-founder of the organization is Mykhaylo Humenchak - the father of a judge of the Lviv Zaliznychniy Court - Natalia Palyukh.
And how does Judge Ivanyuk explain it?
“… At the time of the consideration of the said case, the information you provided was not known to me, the accuracy of such information is not known to me at the moment, furthermore, such information would in no way affect the objectivity or impartiality of my decision” - wrote in answers to the request of Ivanna Ivanyuk.
Instead, Judge N. Paliuk wrote that she was on leave at the time when the said order was issued and that she was not aware of the case.
“… I do not have information that Zemba Taras Antonovych is a relative of Zemba Lyudmyla Igorivna, and therefore the conflict of interests regarding the consideration of the case by the judge of the Zaliznychniy District Court of Lviv by I.Ivanyuk. I don't see, ”Judge Palyukh argued.
They may not really be relatives today. But in the past they were for sure. The court order itself indicated the registration address of Taras Zemba. Lyudmila Zemba was also registered at the same address in the past. According to Youcontrol, back in 1996, the same address was listed as the legal address of Tanais-LTD, which was then managed by Ms. Palyukh, now a judge.
(Lviv Zaliznychniy Court Judge N.Palyukh.
used a screenshot from a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-So3aXcmhA)
Judge Natalia Palyukh is the former wife of Andriy Palyukh. For many years he directed the prosecutor's office of Lviv and was the deputy prosecutor of Lviv region. At present, he is, in particular, recorded in the co-founders of the Law Firm “Law Firm A.Z. Partners. "
Another co-founder of this law firm is Andriy Zubach. It was he who represented the interests Schnyr, whose claim was upheld on December 14, 2017 by Judge Natalia Palyukh.
Brother for brother
Volodymyr Halyn, Head of the Sambir City District Court of Lviv Oblast, Viktor Romanyuk - from the Halych District Court of Lviv, and Roman Golovaty - from the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv. All three judges work in the courts of first instance. Their sentences can be appealed in the Court of Appeal of Lviv region. And here, in the criminal chamber, each of them has his own brother - Vasyl Galin, Vasily Golovaty, Mykhailo Romanyuk.
The last, also has father-in-law - Sergei Lesnoy, is the chairman of the Sikhiv District Court of Lviv. And his sentences can also be appealed in the Court of Appeal of Lviv region.
(Chairman of the Sikhiv District Court of Lviv S. Lesnoy.
photo taken from the Judicial Power of Ukraine web portal)
Of course, the law prohibits hearing a judge's case if the presiding judge was his brother or father-in-law. There is only one point.
I have analyzed the rulings of the Court of Appeal of the Lviv region, which have been searched in the single register of court decisions since summer 2013. In cases where the first instance verdicts were handed down by Judges Galin, Romanyuk, Holovaty and Lesnoy.
That's it. The verdict is handed down by Roman Golovaty of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv and is heard by the panel of judges at the appellate instance. And more than once, these colleges include Vasily Galin.
Sometimes even with Mykhailo Romanyuk.
On other cases, a verdict is issued by Vladimir Galin from the Sambir City District Court, and Vasily Holovaty enters the appeal.
Or Victor Romanyuk's sentence from the Halych Court of Lviv is being reviewed by a panel consisting of the same Vasily Golovaty or Vasyl Halyn.
Similarly, in the sentences of Sergei Lesny - the board of appeal consisted of Vasily Galin and Vasily Golovaty more than once.
So, can a convicted person be tried in a fair court if the judge who works with the brother of the first-instance judge also examines the sentence? In my opinion it is extremely doubtful.
The human rights activist Viktor Chernomsky, who has been investigating the family ties of Lviv judges for more than a year, does not believe it.
(Victor Chernomsky, human rights activist)
“Judge clans have intertwined district courts and courts of appeal. In such circumstances, if it is decided to adjudicate on any issue in the courts, it will be lobbied by the higher courts. And a person is effectively deprived of the truth in our legal system.
If one of the judges of the lower court received a bribe, then that judge will go to the higher standing court to the neighboring clans, and say - today you decide for me, tomorrow - I decide for you. My brother made this decision.
And whoever it is - this decision will not be reversed by the higher standing court, ”Viktor Chernomsky is convinced.
And a little bit of statistics, which I managed to find in a single register of court decisions. Since the summer of 2013, appeals against 9 sentences by Judge Volodymyr Halyn from the Sambir District Court have been considered in the Court of Appeal of the Lviv Oblast. Only two of them have been partially amended, and instead of real terms, they have been assigned conditional.
At the same time, complaints against 29 sentences of Roman Golovaty from the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv were considered. Only 4 of them were canceled or modified.
Of the 18 sentences of Judge Viktor Romanyuk from the Halych District Court of Lviv, only two were quashed and the cases were referred for a new trial. Two sentences have been changed, but the penalties are the same. And in three sentences, the changes mitigated the punishment - the real term was suspended by probation, the seizure of property was excluded, or the additional punishment was ruled out.
(Court of Appeal of Lviv Oblast.
photo taken from the Judicial Power of Ukraine web portal)
By the way, two more brothers-judges works in Lviv - Oleg Vanivskyi - in the Court of Appeal of Lviv region, and Yuriy Vanivskyy - in the Frankivsky court of Lviv.
And in the Lviv Shevchenko Court, Natalya Lutsov-Shumska jadges, whose sister - Nadiya Shumska - until recently worked as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lviv Region, does justice.
By the way, the last judge was twice a member of the panel of judges who heard cases, where one of the parties was Marian Tsplak. Interestingly, according to the Nadiya Shumskaya Declaration of Family Relationships, Mr. Tsaplak is her cousin. One of these cases also featured an aunt of the judge, Irina Lutzov.
Coordinator of the non-governmental judicial reform monitoring group and anti-corruption blogger Lubomir Pelehk points to the inaccessibility of the justice system for ordinary people and the illusory reform of the judicial protection system as a whole.
“The society has become a hostage to pseudo-reformers who act to protect and preserve corruption. It is also a consequence of the failed lustration policy of the authorities and the excessive tolerance of the old nomenclature by society. ” - says Lubomir Pelekh.
"We are too timid and sentimental to power. In the field of justice, the post-revolutionary government opted to maintain the old order. The government is trying to hide the old corruption order of things through a new image strategy. However, this does not meet the public demand and in the near future we can only expect radicalization of people, ”Pelekh concluded.
The material was prepared and published in the framework of the Anti-Corruption Grants Competition, announced by the NGO "Institute for the Development of Regional Press" with the support of the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine (EU Anti-Corruption Initiative).