May 01, 2013

Training Introduces Ukrainian Advocates to New Criminal Procedure Code, Teaches Them Practical Trial Skills

May 2013

From February 1–2, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) conducted a trial skills training in Rivne for 25 advocates from northwest Ukraine. Half of the participants are pro bono advocates from the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Coordination Center, which was founded in January.

The training addressed witness examination techniques and included a demonstration of direct- and cross-examination. Participants also discussed plea agreements and related provisions in the new Criminal Procedure Code.

The training focused on how advocates can use Ukraine’s 2012 Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which transitions the country from an inquisitorial to an adversarial criminal justice system, to actively defend their clients. The code expands defense advocates’ rights by allowing them to see evidence collected by a prosecutor, to request further investigation by police, to call defense witnesses, including experts, and to cross-examine state witnesses.

A representative from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), Kathy Ladun, then-ABA ROLI country director in Ukraine, and Tetiana Rogozianska, an ABA ROLI staff attorney, led the training. The trial skills portion of the training addressed witness examination techniques, with OPDAT and ABA ROLI staff demonstrating direct- and cross-examination. Following the discussions and demonstrations, trainees assumed the roles of a prosecutor, a defense attorney and witnesses in a hypothetical case to practice the skills they learned.

On day two of the training, Pavlo Lutsyuk, a Rivne advocate who helped organize the event, and Ladun discussed plea agreements and related provisions in the new code. Participants then worked in groups to practice plea bargains based on these provisions.

The training was well received by participants. They said it was a unique opportunity for them to learn how the newly introduced norms and practices work, as well as to better understand the challenges the practices pose in implementation in the United States. Participant Sergei Overchuk said that one of the highlights of the training was the demonstration of psychological tactics that prosecutors and defense attorneys employ in questioning witnesses. He said, “Hearing about the American experience of implementation of such norms produced heated debate among the advocates present about how these norms could work in Ukrainian judicial practice.”

The training is part of ABA ROLI’s program to strengthen defense advocacy in Ukraine, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

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