What to know about Stanislav Kravchenko — Ukraine’s new Supreme Court Chief Justice

26 May, 04:00 PM
Stanislav Kravchenko (Photo:REUTERS/Alina Smutko)

Stanislav Kravchenko (Photo:REUTERS/Alina Smutko)

Judge Stanislav Kravchenko, the current head of the Criminal Cassation Court within the Supreme Court, was appointed as the chief justice of the Supreme Court during an extraordinary plenary session on May 26.

108 of 148 judges present voted for his candidacy. The remaining contenders did not receive more than 20 votes. 11 judges abstained from voting.

Kravchenko was elected chief justice for a four-year term.

Kravchenko graduated from the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University. Coming from Chernihiv Oblast, he worked in the local Kozelets District Court from 1993 to 2002, and in the Kyiv Court of Appeal from 2002 to 2011.

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He then moved to the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases, and in 2014 became its deputy head. The High Specialized Court of Ukraine was created by Andriy Portnov, a lawyer and deputy head of the Yanukovych's Presidential Administration.

Kravchenko started his work in the Criminal Cassation Court in 2017, and has been its head since 2021.

When he was elected to the Supreme Court in 2017, he received a negative opinion from the Public Council of Integrity, Mykhailo Zhernakov, Chair of the Board of DEJURE Foundation, pointed out on Facebook the day before the session.

Some of Kravchenko’s decisions were illegal, as recognized by the European Court of Human Rights, Zhernakov said. He also "lied about it in his declaration of integrity and did not declare his property."

Kravchenko allegedly promised judges free apartments in exchange for votes in his favor, BBC News Ukraine wrote, citing sources in the Supreme Court.

Knyazev case

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Vsevolod Knyazev was accused of taking a $2.7 million bribe on May 15. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) have said that they have evidence.

SAP confirmed the detention of the Supreme Court head on May 16. He is the most senior Ukrainian official to have ever been apprehended by NABU and SAP, said Semyon Kryvonis, the bureau’s head.

The Supreme Court expressed no confidence in Knyazev during a secret vote on May 16, and he was dismissed from his position. He remains a judge until the decision of the High Council of Justice.

He and his lawyer accomplice are suspected of receiving an illegal bribe. Knyazev was arrested for two months with bail set at UAH 107 million ($2.9 million) on May 18.

There is evidence of Kostyantyn Zhevago, the owner of the Finance and Credit banking group, arranging illicit payments to Supreme Court officials in exchange for favorable rulings, Kryvonis said.

Businessman Zhevago denies any involvement in the multimillion-dollar bribe.

However, on April 19, the Supreme Court upheld Zhevaho's 40% stake in the Poltava Mining and Processing Plant in a lawsuit that had been ongoing since 2005.

Law enforcement agencies are also investigating other instances of judges of the Supreme Court accepting bribes.

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