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Ukraine PM vows to resign if anti-corruption court not created

(AFP) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman says he would resign if a new anti-corruption court, demanded by Kiev’s Western allies and donors, is not launched.

Corruption was among the reasons Ukrainians took to the streets during a 2013-2014 uprising, but it remains a major problem despite new authorities’ promises to tackle it.

Parliament this week is expected to finish consideration of a draft law that paves the way for the new judiciary body, but the initial form of the bill faced heavy criticism from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“As Prime Minister of Ukraine, I made a decision for myself: if this court, fair, independent, is not be created, I will … resign,” Groysman told journalists on Monday.

“Without this important decision, both the credibility of power within society and the international authority (of Ukraine) will be undermined.”

In a letter published by Ukrainian media, the IMF said in January that “several provisions (of the draft bill) are not consistent with the authorities’ commitments.”

The IMF insists that an international expert body should have the final say on selection of judges — rather than an advisory role as in the draft law — to ensure candidates have “an impeccable reputation and integrity.”

Both international organizations and donors should be able to recommend such international experts, the document says.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who filed the bill to the chamber in December 2017, has declined to modify the text despite criticism and urged lawmakers to find a compromise on the draft law.

Groysman’s spokesman Vasyl Ryabchuk clarified to AFP that the prime minister intended to quit if the document “is not backed in the format expected by the IMF.”

“We understand that it is important to vote this week,” he added.

Ukraine was ranked 131st out of 176 in Transparency International’s corruption perception index in 2016.

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