Ukrainian Defense Advocates Trained on Trial Advocacy and Training Skills

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March 2014

From February 1–3, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), working with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Ukrainian Legal Aid Coordinating Center (LACC), organized a Kyiv workshop on trial advocacy skills and training methodology for 48 defense advocates. Gathered from across the country, the trainees are licensed advocates and certified trainers, who provide free legal aid to the indigent through LACC facilities across Ukraine. The workshop focused on building those adversarial trial skills needed to practice under Ukraine’s 2012 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and on teaching training methodology to enable participants to conduct similar sessions in the future.

The February workshop included presentations on evidence admissibility, standards of proof, witness preparation, defense-strategy development and trial advocacy skills, such as opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination of witnesses.

The February workshop included presentations on evidence admissibility, standards of proof, witness preparation, defense-strategy development and trial advocacy skills, such as opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination of witnesses. 

DOJ experts and ABA ROLI staff led the February training-of-trainers workshop, which included presentations on evidence admissibility, standards of proof, witness preparation, defense-strategy development and trial advocacy skills, such as opening statements, closing arguments, and direct- and cross-examination of witnesses. Sessions also discussed related CPC provisions. On the second day of the workshop, participants separated into smaller groups and took part in mock trials to practice their trial advocacy skills and to give trainers an opportunity to provide feedback.

The final training day focused on conducting effective trial-skills workshops and on developing supplementing materials. Following discussions, participants worked in groups to develop and present brief training sessions and to critique their peers’ presentations. Additionally, the participants developed a trial skills manual for LACC advocates that will serve both as a reference and as a resource for upcoming trainings.

“The training was very useful because it taught us effective methods to present evidence and persuade the judge,” said Catherine Karmazina, a LACC advocate and a law professor from Odessa. “It also showed us how to teach the trial skills in an interactive and practical way, which is different than how I teach.”

The training was supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Workshop participants have since led eight workshops in various regions, and will conduct another five through the end of April, on basic trail advocacy skills under an adversarial criminal justice system. LACC’s 2,000 advocates are expected to take part in the trainings.

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

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