Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko rejects call for anti-corruption court

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says judicial reform aimed at rooting out corruption in his country will be introduced in two weeks, but the leader rejects calls for the creation of an independent anti-corruption court in his country.

Leader's dismissal of court comes as Ukraine ranks 131 out of 176 countries for corruption

President Petro Poroshenko told the CBC's Rosemary Barton that he will not set up an anti-corruption court in his country, which ranks 131 out of 176 countries on a corruption index. 'All courts in the country should be anti-corruption,' he says. (CBC)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says judicial reform aimed at rooting out corruption in his country will be introduced in two weeks, but the leader rejects calls for the creation of an independent anti-corruption court.

"I am absolutely confident that it is vital for us to create anti-corruption system in the whole court institution of Ukraine," Poroshenko said in an exclusive interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton. "I think it should happen, it should be launched in two weeks' time."

Reform of Ukraine's judicial system began in 2015, designed to restore public confidence in the judiciary and root out corruption.

But Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group, ranked Ukraine a poor 131 out of 176 countries in its 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, released in January. Denmark came first while Canada was ranked in ninth position. 

The global watchdog says that Ukraine, unlike many European countries, does not have a judicial system with a reputation for independent and fair justice based on the rule of law.

"People do not trust the judiciary to hold the powerful to account, because the courts have shied away from this in the past," said José Ugaz, chairman of Transparency International in a statement last Wednesday. "Ukraine should adopt an independent anti-corruption court to ensure that nepotism and cronyism play no part in how justice is delivered in Ukraine."

In order to unlock the next instalment of Ukraine's $17.5 billion US aid package, the International Monetary Fund wants Ukraine to put forward legislation to set up anti-corruption courts in Ukraine.

The IMF aid package was established to help Ukraine recover from a two-year recession, following the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tells CBC's Rosemary Barton on Sept. 23 that judicial reforms aimed at rooting out corruption will be introduced "in two weeks' time." 0:59

But Poroshenko suggests there is no need to set up specialized courts focused on corruption.

"The answer is very simple. All courts in the country should be anti-corruption. This is the same way they do it in Canada, like they do it in the United States," he said.

With files from Reuters

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