No Revolution of Dignity for Ukraine's Judges: Judicial Reform after the Euromaidan
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2020
- pp. 113-142
- Additional Information
Following the historic Revolution of Dignity in 2014, Ukraine's leaders embarked on a major overhaul of the country's judicial sector. Against a backdrop of favorable conditions, including strong public support for reforms, vigorous political competition, and the insistence of international partners, Ukrainian lawmakers enacted a sweeping array of legislative and institutional changes, purportedly to strengthen judicial independence and improve the transparency and accountability of the courts. Yet five years on, this high-profile restructuring appears to have had little substantive impact on entrenched patterns of political subservience and corruption. Why has Ukraine's rule-of-law breakthrough failed to live up to its promise? The answer, we argue, requires a closer examination of the nature and internal dynamics of the reform process—in particular, political elites' shallow commitment to powerful, independent courts, as well as the absence of a strong reformist constituency within the Ukrainian judiciary.