Ukrainian Lawmakers Approve Arrest Warrant For Judge Accused Of Bribe-Taking

KIEV, Ukraine -- Parliament on Thursday took the unprecedented step of issuing an arrest warrant for a judge accused of bribe-taking in southern Ukraine.

Judges in Ukraine are guaranteed immunity from prosecution and cannot be detained or arrested without the direct consent of the 450-member parliament.

Critics say the strict rules, intended to keep the courts independent, have allowed corruption to flourish.

Sergey Kivalov, who chairs Verkhovna Rada's judicial committee, asked lawmakers to approve the order to detain Arbuzysnk Court Judge Oleh Pampura.

He said it came at the direct request of state prosecutors who accused Pampura of demanding a $6,000 bribe to reduce a sentence.

"This is an unprecedented measure," he said.

Pampura, whose current whereabouts were unknown, is also suspected of receiving other bribes and pressuring witnesses to lie during his five years on the bench, Kivalov told lawmakers.

Lawmakers approved the request in a 292-1 vote.

Source: Kyiv Post