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September 01, 2012

Ukrainian Advocates Prepare for New Criminal Procedure Code

September 2012

In July and August, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) developed and conducted a course on Ukraine’s new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) for advocates in five regions of the country. A total of 178 advocates attended the trainings held in Kharkhiv, Alusta (Crimea), Kyiv, Kherson and Rivne.

The new CPC, which will come into effect in November, introduces procedures that will transform Ukraine’s current inquisitorial system into an adversarial one. The changes will shift the judge’s role from that of an active investigator to that of a decision maker, allow cross-examination of witnesses by both prosecutors and defense attorneys, and introduce the concept of plea bargaining. The three-day course covers the major changes affecting pre-trail and trial procedures, and introduces trial skills. ABA ROLI developed two manuals for the course; one introducing the new CPC and another focusing on alternatives to pre-trial detention.

ABA ROLI trainer Olena Kostyuchenko, a law professor from the National Taras Shevchenko University, said that the training was meant to prepare advocates for the new rules that will soon govern criminal procedure. Bill McGilton, an ABA ROLI legal specialist who led the trial-skills session that focused on cross-examination, told trainees that their role was to give their clients the best defense possible, which included challenging the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses.

ABA ROLI worked with members of the advocate qualification and disciplinary commissions in each of the five regions to coordinate the trainings. The commissions provided printed manuals and transportation for advocates. The Academy of Advocatura, a long-time ABA ROLI partner, hosted the training held in Kyiv.

Participants gave the course excellent reviews, noting that the training gave them an opportunity to learn about new provisions governing direct- and cross-examination, and to practice the actual skills involved. They said that the training materials were helpful and called for additional trainings that focus on the practical skills.

To learn more about our work in Ukraine, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].