EU Project Pravo-Justice Presented the Results of Its Operation over the Last Six Months

On April 20, a Steering Committee meeting of the EU Project Pravo-Justice took place, at which key results of the Project’s work for six months were presented and some plans for the near future were developed. The event was attended by the representatives of the European Commission and EU member states, national stakeholders, and the entire Project Team.

When opening the event, Oksana Tsymbrivska, Country Manager of the EU Project Pravo-Justice, thanked all those present for fruitful cooperation and expressed confidence that not only would it continue, but also enhance and deepen.

"After the start of the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Project restructured its activities to meet the needs of wartime, in particular, by adding – on top of its usual areas of intervention and assistance to the justice system in wartime – cooperation with law enforcement agencies to ensure proper investigation of war crimes and bring the guilty to justice. At the same time, the Project continued supporting the justice system in the context of Ukraine’s fulfillment of the requirements set by the European Commission to maintain the status of a candidate for EU membership,” said Oksana Tsymbrivska.

“Understanding all the challenges faced by Ukrainian state authorities, the Project also tried to be flexible and promptly respond to emerging needs of the stakeholders,” she said, emphasizing that the Project has processed more than 20 ad hoc requests from beneficiaries during the wartime.

In his turn, Xavier Camus, Head of Section “Good Governance and Rule of Law”, EU Delegation to Ukraine, noted that, despite the difficult conditions, the Project continued providing expert and logistics support to the Ukrainian judicial system, while working hard to ensure its continuity in the future.

According to him, the focus is on the comprehensive support of Ukraine in the investigation of war crimes and building the capacity of judicial institutions in terms of such investigations, as well as the reform of legal education in Ukraine.

Alisa Rozanova, Deputy Director of the “Good Governance” Department of Expertise France, specified some results of the activities of the EU Project Pravo-Justice.

“The Project is of particular importance in the promotion of strategic reforms and the process of Ukraine’s European integration, which will definitely help Ukraine become a strong and modern state,” emphasized Alisa Rozanova.

Denys Maslov, Head of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on legal policy, also noted in his speech the Project’s special role in the implementation of major reforms. In particular, he spoke about the steps which have already been done on the way to Ukraine’s European integration.

"Together with the Project, we developed and adopted new legislation, which provided for the reboot of the highest judicial governance bodies: HCJ and HQCJ. Thus, finally, the High Council of Justice is in place and operational today, and the HQCJ will be formed soon, I hope. This happened, among others, thanks to the experts of the EU Project Pravo-Justice”, said Denys Maslov.

Currently, the EU Project Pravo-Justice actively cooperates with the renewed High Council of Justice and provides it with comprehensive support. For example, Chairman of HCJ, Hryhorii Usyk, noted the Project’s special contribution in supporting the development of legislative initiatives, which introduced, in particular, the check for integrity and professional ethics of members of judicial governance bodies.

“I would want to give special tribute to the Project for its activities aimed at supporting both the Ethics Council in the selection of candidate HCJ members, and the Competition Commission for the selection of candidates to the HQCJ. The members of the High Council of Justice are aware of the mission entrusted to them in terms of development of the judiciary, because it is the HCJ that should be the engine of reforms and positive changes in the judicial system. We expect and count on the support of our international partners and the EU Project Pravo-Justice in the connection”, added Hryhorii Usyk.

Oleksii Khomenko, First Deputy Prosecutor General, also spoke at the event. He talked about the challenges the prosecutors are facing due to martial law. According to him, there are almost 100,000 pending criminal proceedings relating to the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

“When we faced challenges at the beginning of the full-scale war, the EU Project Pravo-Justice was among the first ones to respond and provide support. It is not only about expert assistance, but also about providing prosecutors with personal protection means, which save lives, as well as technical devices, which today allow recording crimes of the Russian Federation”, said Oleksii Khomenko.

The Project “Support of Justice Sector Reforms and Digitalization in Ukraine” (EU Project Pravo-Justice) is implemented by Expertise France with the financial support of the European Union. Starting from 2017, the EU Project Pravo-Justice has been promoting the development of the rule of law in Ukraine.

It should be noted that the current phase of the Project will be implemented until September of this year. Active work is currently underway to identify the needs of key partners – Office of the Prosecutor General, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, High Council of Justice, Supreme Court, High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Legal Policy, National School of Judges of Ukraine, State Judicial Administration of Ukraine and others – for designing the next stage.

The focus will remain on European integration, investigation of war crimes, digitalization and greater access to justice.