May 01, 2013

Mock Trial Training Introduces Ukrainian Police Cadets to Adversarial Criminal Justice System

May 2013

In April, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) launched a mock trial course for Ukrainian law enforcement cadets from five legal clinics operating under the Ministry of Interior academies. Attended by about 100 cadets, the course continued through early May and culminated with a May 29–30 mock trial competition in Kyiv. Each of the five participating legal clinics was represented by a team of two trainees at the competition.

During the training, participants discussed the implications of the changes to the Criminal Procedure Code, which introduces an adversarial criminal justice system to Ukraine. 

The training and competition are part of an initiative, which—with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs—teaches law enforcement officers about changes in pre-trial and trial procedures under Ukraine’s 2012 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The program kicked off with a March 4–5 training of trainers attended by nine legal clinic heads and advisors from Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv and Donetsk. Led by Kathy Ladun, the then-ABA ROLI country director in Ukraine, and James Lofton, an ABA ROLI legal specialist, participants discussed the implications of the changes to the CPC, which introduces an adversarial criminal justice system to Ukraine. The training of trainers also included discussions on trial and advocacy skills that are essential for effective implementation of the CPC and on how to teach trial advocacy skills. On the second day of the training of trainers, participants worked together to adapt a bank robbery fact pattern to a Ukrainian scenario and discussed it in light of the CPC and other applicable Ukrainian laws.

The practical approach of the training was well received by participants. Sergei Derkach, a former police investigator and now a coordinator at a Ministry of Interior academy, said, “This is a very useful program and a great way for students to learn the new [criminal] procedures through doing rather than just studying.”

Participants of the March training of trainers helped conduct the April-May course for police cadets. The cadets took part in a week-long trial skills training led by Lofton, followed by a week of working with their clinic advisors to prepare and present a mock trial problem. To conclude the training, the teams representing the five clinics are taking part in the mock trial competition, which utilizes the case developed during the March training of trainers.

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