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The EU Project “Support to the Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine” jointly with NGO “Ukrainian Bar Association”, Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA), NGO “Union of Advocates of Ukraine”, NGO “On Protection of Human Rights” and Regional Press Development Institute completed the training program “Development of external relations of regional advocates’ self-government bodies with the mass media and civil society organizations”.

The trainings were held in July-November 2015 for the advocates in Vinnytsya, Chernivtsi, Chernihiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Zakarpattya, Khmelnytsky, Ternopil, Rivne, Cherkasy, Zaporizhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Kyiv oblasts, Kyiv and Mukacheve cities. More than 650 representatives of the bar, human rights organizations and the media took part in the trainings.  

Among the trainers and key speakers were Head of the Human Rights Committee of the UNBA Hanna Kolesnyk, Media Trainer and Executive Director of the Media Reform Center Liudmyla Humenyuk, Media Lawyer of the Regional Press Development Institute Liudmyla Pankratova, Editor-in-chief of the Advocate magazine Leonid Lazebnyy, Key Expert of the EU Project “Support to the Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” Mark Segal and the National Expert of the Project Oksana Tsymbrivska.

The key task of the trainers was to train the advocates to set up communications with the media and cooperation with the civil society organizations to eliminate the violations of advocates’ professional guarantees and their clients’ rights in the criminal process. The Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights in Criminal Cases adopted by the bar of Ukraine on June 24, 2015, after 18 months of profound work on its development participated by more than thousand of advocates in all regions, was a key tool to support these activities.

These communications training initiated large-scale work all over Ukraine on establishing the monitoring and impact system consolidating the efforts of advocates, the media and the public to detect, disclose and discontinue the violations of human rights in the criminal proceedings. These activities included systemic joint actions to control the implementation of the constitutional principle of open trial in criminal proceedings, in particular,  implemented by such initiatives as the Open Court and the Court Monitor, now gaining a strong momentum, as well as professional development of the advocates, spreading the best practices in application of the criminal procedural laws of Ukraine,  strengthening the advocates’ self-governance.

The materials summarized in the course of trainings will be built up on further steps of the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights in Criminal Cases in 2016.

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