ARCHIVES Danyliw Seminar 2017
McGill University, Canada
Dr. Maria Popova is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. Her research examines the rule of law, corruption, and good governance in the post-communist region. Dr. Popova’s book Politicized Justice in Emerging Democracies received the American Association for Ukrainian Studies 2012-13 award for best book on Ukrainian history, politics, language, literature, and culture. Her current book project explores the prosecution of political corruption in seven post-communist EU members.
Judicial Reform after the Euromaidan:
The More Things Change…
Post-Maidan Ukraine witnessed a historic opportunity to reform its troubled legal system. The ouster of Victor Yanukovich created a unique political opening for new political actors to address corruption and political interference in the judicial sector. However, this opportunity was soon met with the disappointing reality of a court system that may well be more vulnerable to politicization and corruption than at any time in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history. Numerous dismissals of high level judicial officials, justified as a necessary step toward removing corrupt political cronies, amounted to a purge of Yanukovych appointees—for the apparent purpose of appointing officials loyal to the post-Madian government. This paper explores what the Ukrainian case can teach us about judicial reform in comparative perspective. It examines the political and institutional complexity of the judicial reform process and the inherent risks associated with radical reforms in the judicial sector.