Victor Yushchenko has met with newly appointed heads and deputy heads of local courts and courts of appeal, President's press office reported.

The President wished them success and said they must be immensely responsible.

“You are professionally and, most importantly, socially responsible, for the citizens of Ukraine see courts as a standard of justice and their last resort in the protection of human rights and interests,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko said society today saw “serious disruptions in the functioning of the judicial system.” Thus they associate new appointments with positive changes, he said.

“You are responsible for how the face of Ukrainian courts will change in the next several years,” he said, urging the judges “to let no officials influence their decisions.”

“I want to see Ukrainian courts politically impartial. They must not be instruments used by the government or the opposition. You are national institutions,” he opined.

Speaking about the most pressing problems of the judicial branch, Mr. Yushchenko said many judges failed to meet high demands and expectations of society. He said it was seen in thousands of letters in which Ukrainians complain about their biasness and incompetence.

The President also said the government must resolve financial problems facing Ukrainian judges by providing more funds to raise their salaries and improve their working conditions. Mr. Yushchenko believes it will help eradicate corruption and promote justice.

“This is my unalterable stance,” he said.

Then he presented a certificate to the recently elected head of Ukraine’s Supreme Court Vasyl Onopenko.

Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha attended the meeting.


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