Council of Europe Conference: “The impact of criminal offenses on human rights and criminal justice in Ukraine”
The Council of Europe (CoE) organized a conference on the impact of criminal offenses on human rights and criminal justice in Ukraine. Organized in a hybrid format of face-to-face and online participation, the objective of the conference was to provide a platform for key criminal justice actors to exchange views and experiences on achievements and challenges. the introduction of criminal offenses in Ukraine. The conference brought together the main national players in criminal justice: police officers, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, as well as national and international experts in criminal justice from the Council of Europe. In addition to the participants from Kiev, police officers, prosecutors and lawyers from the largest Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnipro and Lviv also joined the conference remotely.
The conference focused on the current state of affairs with regard to the enforcement of criminal offenses almost a year after the entry into force of this mechanism in Ukraine. Emphasis was placed on its impact on the efficiency of criminal justice bodies as well as on improvements or threats to human rights. Discussions during the conference were based on study carried out by the CoE on the application of criminal offenses during the first three months since the entry into force of this mechanism.
Mr. Steen Nørlov, Head of the CoE Ukraine office, welcomed the speakers and participants to the conference. He underlined that criminal justice reform is one of the important areas for CoE cooperation with Ukraine. The CoE recognizes many positive developments in this area since the adoption of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine in 2012, one of which is the introduction of criminal offenses. This mechanism aims to humanize the criminal justice system for minor offenses and to improve the efficiency of the criminal justice system. It is important to monitor the implementation of this novelty.
Mr. Denys Monastyrskyi, head of the law enforcement commission of the Verkhovna Rada, stressed the importance of the mechanism of criminal offenses for members of his commission as one of the recent global changes in the criminal justice system. He expressed his gratitude for the continued support of the CoE in the process of introducing criminal offenses and in monitoring its implementation in practice. Mr. Monastyrskyi noted that although on the whole criminal offenses were successfully launched, in the fall of 2021 his Committee would consider possible legislative changes to refine the system; he further noted that the conference could help identify issues that would need to be refined.
Mr. Stanislav Kravchenko, head of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Cassation Court, said criminal offenses were in the spotlight of the Ukrainian criminal justice system. It can be observed that criminal offenses have reduced the workload of criminal justice actors in many regions of Ukraine and humanized criminal responsibility. At the same time, as admitted by Mr Kravchenko, the monitoring of legal proceedings has shown that there are certain shortcomings that need to be addressed.
Mr. Oleksandr Banchuk, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, said that criminal offenses concern all members of society, who suffer criminal offenses as offenders, victims, witnesses, etc. The Ministry of Justice is preparing legal amendments aimed at aligning the provisions on criminal offenses with the respective CoE recommendations and eliminating other loopholes which become evident after one year of application of criminal offenses in the convenient.
Ms. Kateryna Duchenko, head of the national police surveillance department of the prosecutor’s office, reaffirmed that the subject of criminal offenses is important for the Ukrainian prosecution service. She also noted that OPG has fruitful cooperation with the National Police to identify and eliminate gaps that appear throughout the process of implementing criminal offenses.
The main part of the conference consisted of two panels. Panel I focused on the impact of criminal offenses on the effectiveness of investigations and the work of criminal justice bodies, while Panel II focused on the Impact of criminal offenses on respect for human rights. in criminal proceedings.
The full video recording of the conference is available at Youtube.
The conference was organized within the framework of the Council of Europe project “Human rights-respecting criminal justice system in Ukraine” Phase II, which is part of the Council of Europe’s Action Plan for ‘Ukraine for 2018-2022.