15:44 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Yuriy Lutsenko

    Entry-Level Position? Ukraine's New Top Prosecutor Has No Legal Experience

    © RIA Novosti . Grigoriy Vasilenko
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    In a move that is likely to displease Ukraine’s major patrons -- including the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission -- Kiev has appointed as the country’s prosecutor general a politician who has no legal experience and is seen by many in the country as an alcoholic puppet of the oligarchs.

    Yuriy Lutsenko, former interior minister and close ally of President Poroshenko, was appointed to the post of Ukrainian general prosecutor on Thursday. To allow Lutsenko to be eligible, lawmakers changed the Ukrainian constitution to allow candidates with no legal background to be appointed.

    Earlier, the EU spoke in favor of having a candidate with the appropriate legal experience.

    The news came amid an IMF visit to Ukraine, to assure that Kiev is carrying out reforms necessary to counter deep corruption in the state. Legislative and bureaucratic reforms are a linchpin to a new package of IMF financial aid to the country.

    Speaking to the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament, Poroshenko described Lutsenko as a good candidate to boost reform and build public trust in the government’s prosecution arm. The newly-appointed general prosecutor echoed Poroshenko’s remarks, stating that he is determined to "break the current inefficient and partly criminal system."

    Those statements were met with shouts of "shame" in the parliament, as Lutsenko is deemed to be a cohort to those he is supposed to monitor.

    "The basic idea is making sure that nothing gets done,” Yegor Sobolev, an MP from the Samopomich party, that left Poroshenko’s faction last year, said of the appointment. "All his [Lutsenko’s] actions will be an imitation of work."

    Sobolev stated that, under Lutsenko, the pillars of kleptocracy that comprise the SBU, the courts and the prosecutor’s office will “remain intact,” and will leave the hands of the oligarchs free to do as they will.

    Anticipating resistance to his nomination, Poroshenko's faction MP Leonid Kozachenko said he hopes “this conflict will disappear when Lutsenko begins real investigations."

    Lutsenko has had a bumpy political career. He was actively engaged in the 2004 pro-western "Orange Revolution,” aimed against Viktor Yanukovich, who was running for president at the time. When Yanukovich became president in 2010, Lutsenko was imprisoned for embezzlement and abuse of his office.

    After being released from jail, Lutsenko joined Poroshenko's political bloc.


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