Ukraine’s Supreme Court hastily elects new chief following corruption scandal
Staniskav Kravchenko. Photo via hromadske

The Supreme Court of Ukraine on Friday elected a new chief justice to replace Vsevolod Kniaziev, who is under investigation in a high-profile corruption case, Ukraine news media hromadske reports.

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108 out of 148 Supreme Court judges voted for Stanislav Kravchenko, the head of the Criminal Court of Cassation within the Supreme Court.

Some of the candidates thought it premature to vote for the new chief justice as they "did not have time to communicate with other judges who should elect them and conduct a campaign programme," per hromadske.

However, acting chief justice Dmytro Luspenyk stressed that the new Supreme Court head should be elected "as soon as possible".

The interim head "does not have a full range of powers – for example, he cannot sit in the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, nor can he take the seat of a member of the High Council of Justice", Mr Luspenyk said, as reported by hromadske, adding ""international partners want to communicate only with the approved leadership of the Court".

On 16 May, Mr Kniaziev was detained by anti-graft law enforcement on suspicion of corruption. Following that, the plenum of the Supreme Court expressed no confidence in Mr Kniaziev and dismissed him from the post.

Mr Kniaziev pleaded not guilty, calling the case "an order from certain politicians for his certain actions."