The First Strategic Planning Workshop on Advocacy and Strengthening the Adversarial Process was held at the National Academy of Legal Sciences in Kyiv on 26 June. Co-organised by the EU-funded Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” and the National Bar Association of Ukraine, the Workshop brought together prominent Ukrainian advocates from different professional associations of lawyers and representatives of international donor organisations.
The objective of the event was to start drafting an Action Plan for making the penal process more adversarial, with equality of arms between the prosecution and defence in penal cases. While other juridical institutions and legal professions have planning documents which set forth their proposals and requirements, advocates have not yet developed or set forth a common position. Accordingly, the Action Plan will a) serve as a blueprint for further reform initiatives to be carried out by the National Bar Association and its partner institutions; b) be an important element of the strategy to guide judicial reforms; c) set the stage for additional collaborative work bringing advocates together with judges and prosecutors, and d) be utilised by the Project for multi-component initiatives.
“At this historical moment of justice sector reform in Ukraine, advocates must make sure that their voice is heard. This is why it is important to develop an Action Plan which presents the key reforms which advocates seek, in order to make the penal process more fair and protect human rights,” - says Mark Segal, Key Expert, EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms”.
“This workshop is a starting point for efforts to extend the rights of advocates in the adversarial process,” – says Valentyn Gvozdiy, Deputy Head of the National Bar Association of Ukraine. – “The Association will contribute to development of the Action Plan and to lobbying for new legislation that will ensure the rights of advocates. We are asking the EU to support us in this process.”
“This is the first precedent in Ukraine where an international donor supports the project for advocates,” – noted Kateryna Koval, Deputy Head of the National Bar Association and Deputy Head of the Lawyers Union of Ukraine, - “We are looking forward to reform of the judicial system and hope that the new project will help to engage advocates in this process.”
Similar events in the format of strategic planning workshops for advocates will be expanded to include judges and prosecutors. The next workshop is scheduled for July 2014 in Rivne.
The ongoing EU-funded project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” aims to support consolidated justice sector-wide reforms in Ukraine. The project directly involves EU Member states and will continue for 38 months. The project brings together all sector stakeholders in order to assist them with the development of the joint sector-wide reform strategy. The strategy will be implemented through sector coordination and will include implementation provisions backed by a multi-year financial commitment from the Ukrainian Government.
The Project is jointly implemented by a Consortium led by Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI), the French mandated body of the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with CIVIPOL (mandated body of the French Ministry of Interior), ADETEF (mandated body of the French Ministry of Finance), the Ministry of Justice of Poland, the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania, the Institute of Law of Lithuania, the German Foundation on International Legal Cooperation (IRZ), the mandated body of the German Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Centre for Legal and Political Studies, a Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organisation, as associate to the action.