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November 01, 2008

Lawyer Day Celebration: Ukraine Hails the Role of Lawyers

November 2008

Ukraine celebrated Lawyer’s Day on October 8 to honor the rights, liberties and freedoms protected and enforced by the laws, legal institutions and members of the legal profession.

The contributions of Ukrainian lawyers in promoting rule of law and democracy were highlighted during the celebration under the theme: “Ukrainian Lawyers:  Professional and Social Responsibility.” The event was cosponsored by the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Ukrainian minister of justice.

The Ukrainian Minister of Justice Mykola Onishchuk, U.S. Ambassador William Taylor, ABA ROLI Country Director Shelley Wieck, and representatives of the Supreme Court and the Central Election Commission spoke in recognition of the Ukrainian lawyers’ contribution in facing the challenges of reforming the country’s justice system. The lawyers have been involved in reforming the judiciary, criminal justice and law enforcement systems.

They have worked in constitutional, legal education and legal profession reform efforts. Members of the country’s legal community have been engaged in drafting legislations on criminal justice, criminal procedure and bar associations. They have also been working to reform law enforcement, analyze anti-corruption legislation, and raise public awareness on legal and advocacy issues with an eye on ensuring equal access to justice including through the provision of pro bono legal services.

ABA ROLI’s work in the drafting of concepts on legal education and law enforcement reform, as well as unification of the legal profession through a draft law on the bar, was recognized during the event. These drafts will soon be presented to relevant government authority for approval. The Lawyer’s Day celebration was also a reminder to legal professionals to strengthen their efforts to advance the rule of law and increase the independence and transparency of Ukraine’s democratic institutions. These institutions are the main tool in fighting corruption, protecting human rights, improving the investment climate and meeting the standards necessary for membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions.

By partnering with ABA ROLI to host this important annual event, the government of Ukraine is recognizing the important contribution that the legal profession and lawyers are making in the reform initiatives in the country.

For more information about our  work in Ukraine, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.