Ukraine wants all its prosecutors drug tested

2017-02-16 10:44


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Kiev - Is your prosecutor on drugs? That is what Ukraine would like to know under a new and unlikely initiative launched by the head of the office instituting legal proceedings on Wednesday.

The reform-minded Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko believes there is a strong case to be made for comprehensive drug-testing in his profession.

The 52-year-old veteran of the former Soviet republic's brutal politics held a meeting with his underlings during which he instructed them to check all prosecutors' hair and even nails for any illegal substances.

"I understand that this has not been earmarked into our budget," Ukrainian media quoted Lutsenko as saying.

"However, please, either voluntarily or by force, I ask that all the prosecutors give their drug samples, hair, nails - any method really - so that everyone undergoes a check on drug dependency."

Legal profession

Ukrainian media said Lutsenko was prompted to act by an incident in the southeastern Zaporizhzhya region during which the local chief prosecutor was not only accused of using drugs but also of selling them to a colleague.

Lutsenko called the case a "warning bell" that should alert the east European nation about drug abuse in its legal system.

The slight irony of the situation is that Lutsenko is infamous in Ukraine for reportedly being kicked off a plane in Germany in 2009 for being too drunk. The case was particular humiliating for all parties because Lutsenko was Ukraine's interior minister at the time.

The Bil newspaper simply headlined its story: "Too drunk. The plane's pilot did not let a minister on board."

Lutsenko later denied charges of causing a scene at the Frankfurt airport.

Ukraine has the same levels of drug abuse as it neighbours with few indications that the problem is especially widespread in the legal profession.

Read more on:    ukraine  |  narcotics

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