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April 05, 2007

Rule of Law Initiative Rolls Out Pre-Trial Detention Pilot Project in Ukraine


On February 20, the Rule of Law Initiative hosted a roll-out event and roundtable discussion dedicated to the results achieved in its Ukraine Pre-Trial Detention Pilot Project, funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The project, which was endorsed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, was implemented in Mykolayiv Region and focused on promoting the increased use of bail as an alternative pre-trial preventative measure to incarceration. Supreme and Appellate Court judges, U.S. Embassy officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and national and international experts on criminal law attended the event to discuss the findings and recommendations of ABA expert consultants, who implemented the project over a one-year period.

The roundtable was opened by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, who stated that the Pre-Trial Detention Pilot Project was another step on the road towards Ukraine's legal reform and greater compliance with international standards.

Among the most successful aspects of the project was the creation of a Pre-Trial Investigation Services Officer position, based in the Central District Court of Mykolayiv. The person filling this experimental position provided valuable personal and financial information about detainees that aided judges in considering the application of appropriate preventative measures.

One of the most gratifying results of the Pre-Trial Detention Pilot Project was that many of the recommendations made by ABA expert consultants on the issue of pre-trial detention and procedural rights for suspects were considered by the Criminal Procedure Code Drafting Committee and incorporated into the revised draft soon to be considered for enactment by Parliament.