Roundtables Address Criminal Justice System Reform in Ukraine



May 2010

In Ukraine, criminal justice reform presents many challenges, including the need to balance European values of protecting human rights and liberties with national traditions while building upon legislative achievements. These aims are reflected in the concept to reform the criminal justice system, which Ukraine’s president adopted on April 8, 2008. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has supported the development of the concept and is working with governmental and non-governmental partners to promote its implementation.

To strengthen its previous reform efforts, ABA ROLI organized two roundtables in April, allowing representatives from the legislature, government agencies and academic institutions to discuss and provide inputs.

An April 16 roundtable focused on the draft law on pre-trial investigation bodies and the status of investigators, created by an inter-ministerial working group ABA ROLI helped establish and the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice oversees. The draft law aims to define the tasks and responsibilities of various law enforcement bodies. It specifically outlines law enforcement personnel’s funding sources, duties, rights and responsibilities to secure the independence of investigators and ensure transparency in the criminal justice system.

To complement the draft law, ABA ROLI drew upon national and international experts to compile two publications on pre-trial investigation in Ukraine, known as the green book and the white book. While the green book provides an overview of problems identified during the working group’s assessment of pre-trial investigations, the white book details recommended solutions. The two books provide a comprehensive roadmap to internationally compliant pre-trial investigations in Ukraine.

On April 24, a follow-up roundtable on the green and white books was held in Kyiv. Participating advocates, and justice sector and law enforcement personnel shared thoughts, which were incorporated in the amended drafts.

Roundtable participants said that reform efforts should target a wide variety of institutions and that they should address Ukraine’s international obligations, including the requirements for membership in the Council of Europe.

To learn more about our work in Ukraine, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@staff.abanet.org.

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