US slaps visa restrictions on notorious Ukrainian judge

10 December 2022, 12:56 PM
Pavlo Vovk (Photo:Павло Вовк via Facebook)

Pavlo Vovk (Photo:Павло Вовк via Facebook)

The United States has introduced visa restrictions against Pavlo Vovk, the chairman of the Kyiv District Administrative Court, also known as the OASK, and two immediate family members, the US Department of State said on Dec. 9.

"Pursuant to Section 7031(c), the Department of State is designating Vovk for soliciting bribes in return for interfering in judicial and other public processes.  As part of this action, two immediate family members are also designated," it said in a statement published on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day.

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According to the document, Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022, provides that in cases where there is credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States and must be either publicly or privately designated.

According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the head of the OASK, Pavlo Vovk, and the judges under his control made decisions in their own interests and in the interests of political elites and business circles.

The investigation concluded that the OASK's chairman was also leading a "criminal organization" whose goal was "to seize state power by establishing control over the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the High Council of Justice, and by creating artificial obstacles to their work." The indictment was sent to court in June 2022.

In April 2021, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy submitted a draft law to parliament to disband the OASK, but lawmakers have not passed it yet.

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