Council of Europe is to help with reform of the Ukrainian Justice System


The Council of Europe will follow reforms of the judiciary in Ukraine and intends to help Kyiv in fighting corruption and political engagement by the courts

This was discussed in Kyiv by the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and the Head of the Supreme Court Vasyl Onopenko.

Progress noted

The state of the Ukrainian justice system makes it possible for the European experts to conclude that reforms in the system have become irreversible, Thomas Hammarberg stated.

The Human Rights Commissioner during his week in Ukraine visited Odessa and Lviv, met with representatives of local courts, an appeal court and with civic human rights organizations.

“In Kyiv I was fortunate enough to be able to discuss the issues of judicial reform with members of the Supreme Court, the High Court of Justice, parliamentarians and government officials. The overall impression is of progress in the Ukrainian justice system. The remnants of the past remain corruption, political bias and engagement of individual judges and courts, insufficient financing of the needs of the courts and their technological backwardness. This was mentioned wherever we went. These are the sore points of the Ukrainian justice system which the Council of Europe will help your country to rid itself of.”

The Head of the Supreme Court Vasyl Onopenko acknowledged that the problems named by Thomas Hammarberg were seriously stalling reforms to the judiciary.

Changes in the justice system are impossible without reform of the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement agencies.  Vasyl Onopenko says that he told the Human Rights Commissioners that it was “possible to improve the situation with the justice system but only if in parallel there is reform of the

prosecutor’s office and law enforcement agencies, the bar and other related institutions”.

He hopes that the Council of Europe’s plan to assist in the reform of the system will be effective, and mentioned that from next year European experts will help their Ukrainian colleagues with training of judges and technological provisions to the courts.

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