Experts’ Meeting “Protecting Whistleblowers from Prosecution” in Kharkiv

On April 22, 2016 NGO "Ukrainian League of Lawyers for Corruption Combating" together with "Initiative 11" coalition held an expert discussion on introducing draft law to protect whistleblowers from prosecution being retaliation for their reporting acts of corruption, abuse of power, human rights violations and others.

Olena Shostko and Oksana Nesterenko ("Ukrainian League of Lawyers for Corruption Combating") were moderators of the meeting. More than 20 experts took part in the discussion, among them there were lawyers, civic activists, experts in the field of criminal law and criminal procedural law, experts in the field of preventing corruption, as well as a number of scientists.

The participants of the meeting discussed the issues concerning some dangers threatening the whistleblowers. Specifically they regarded charging the whistleblowers with deliberately giving false information of the offense or with false testimony and calling them to criminal liability for disclosure of classified information.

The experts gave recommendations on the implementation of law guarantees to protect the whistleblowers from criminal persecution and possible mechanisms for their rights protection. Namely it was about creating mechanism of whistleblowers pre-trial protection and the role in this mechanism played by the National Agency for Preventing Corruption and by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (the Ombudsman).

Special attention was paid to the need of creating a national defense fund of whistleblower protection and the united register of whistleblower cases.

After the theoretical part, the two specific cases were presented to the participants of the expert discussion; it was Attorney-at-law Anatoliy Tarasenko who spoke about them. The participants had the opportunity to ask questions through live broadcast to Alexander Ruzhansky, who became a victim of persecution after he had published information on the elite real estate in Kyiv purchased by Kostiantyn Kulyk, the Head of the Military Prosecutor's Office of ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation). Anatoliy Tarasenko also told the participants about the case of a volunteer programmer Ivan Yani from Odessa, who worked with open government data and who was later accused of breaking the Ministry of Justice site.

These two cases showed a huge problem of vulnerability of the citizens who report socially dangerous acts or transfer information of public interest and therefore they proved the urgency of the draft law having been discussed by the experts during the roundtable.