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14.09.2005

Round table “Free legal aid: ensuring the right of citizens of Ukraine to access to justice”

   

On 2 July a round table “Free legal aid: ensuring the right of citizens of Ukraine to access to justice” was held in the hotel “Natsionalny”. The aim of the round table was to discuss the possibilities for creating a system and efficient mechanisms for providing free legal aid in Ukraine.

The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees to every citizen of our country the right for legal aid. In some cases envisaged by law this aid is rendered free of charge. Unfortunately, there is no law in Ukraine now, which determines the principles and mechanisms of rendering of free legal aid. There are very few opportunities to get free legal aid in criminal, civil and administrative cases. Such situation results in systematic violations of citizens’ right for fair trial.

Therefore the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” initiated the conduction of the round table, where the following questions were discussed:

 real situation with rendering of legal aid in Ukraine and the needs of society;

 conceptual and legal principles of realization of citizens’ right for the access to justice;

 experience of the European countries in creation of the system of rendering of free legal aid to poor layers of population;

 possibilities of realization of international standards of access to justice in Ukraine.

MPs of Ukraine, top officials of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutor’s office, representatives of advocates’ associations, juridical community, donor organizations and foreign embassies took part in the round table.

Founder of the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” George Soros and Viktor Pinchuk, who took part in the work of the round table too, expressed the wish to support, jointly with the UNO Development program, the initiatives aimed at the creation in Ukraine of the efficient system of free legal aid to poor layers of population.

In the nearest years the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” and the donor organization of Viktor Pinchuk will finance the projects, in the result of which:

 several regional centers will be created, where lawyers-consultants and advocates will work permanently;

 unprotected and vulnerable layers of population will have the opportunity to get in these centers professional legal aid in civil, administrative and criminal cases;

 participation of advocates in criminal cases will be guaranteed from the very moment of detention of a suspect, during consideration of the question about taking into custody and court consideration of the case.

Realization of these initiatives, carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, associations of advocates and the UNO Development program, will allow the Ukrainian citizens to realize their constitutional right for juridical aid, will contribute to elaboration of the mechanism of rendering of free legal aid to citizens with its further implementation and financing by the state.

After the end of the round table a briefing for journalists was held.

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