EU take on justice sector reforms in Ukraine
Society is held together by a system of contracts known collectively as the law: all of our daily lives are governed by contracts and regulations of one sort or another. These can only be effective if enforced correctly by the legal system and, when things go wrong, by the courts. The courts ensure the proper functioning of the law and that offenders are duly and fairly dealt with. Ukraine’s further integration as part of Europe can only occur to the extent that the European Union can be confident of the proper functioning of the rule of law in Ukraine.
It is in the EU’s interest to support the reform of the Ukrainian judicial system. If the rule of law applies fairly to Ukrainian citizens, then by extension it will treat European citizens and investors in the same way. All citizens, whether Ukrainian or foreign, must have confidence that the Ukrainian legal system – from the police to the prosecutors to the lawyers to the judges – is impartial and professional, and that each and every citizen is equal before the law.
EU for Justice Reforms
EU help for reforms in Ukraine aims to create a situation, when:
1) Courts rule justly
- Every citizen is treated equally before the law (no room for selective justice).
- Legal judgements are accessible, impartial, professional and handed down efficiently – justice for everyone.
2) An end to corruption
- Zero tolerance: judges, prosecutors and all legal professionals act with integrity, their professional and private conduct is beyond reproach.
- Judicial appointments are made on the basis of transparent, open and fair competition; professional criteria trump loyalty, nepotism becomes a thing of the past.
3) Human rights
- Human rights are central to the judicial system: they are protected and promoted in accordance with European standards and best practices.
- The police and the prosecution respect human rights.
- Accused persons receive a fair and public hearing from an independent and impartial tribunal, and within a reasonable time.
4) Better business
- Investment, economic growth and prosperity over the long term depend on the rule of law.
- Buying, selling and investing won’t happen without , fair competition, security and predictability.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
- Justice sector reform will show its first results after two to three years, but for the overall and deep changes, a longer period of consistent, scrupulous and committed work is needed. All reform instruments need to be merged in one system and reinforce each other; the benefits of reforms have to be communicated to the public at large.
- Educating and nurturing the judiciary takes a long time and costs a lot of money for the State budget, but it is an investment with high return.
- Active participation of citizens in the reform process is vitally important for its successful implementation. After adoption of reforms in the justice sector, the proper monitoring and accountability system involving society should be established in order not to allow any divergence from the aims of the reform.
In .jpeg format: Ukrainian English