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On June 19, 2015, the EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” held its first meeting of Odesa Regional Justice Sector Reform Council that brought together key justice sector stakeholders of Odesa Oblast to discuss problem issues related to the Criminal Procedure Code, as well as other topics.

 The event was the launch for a pilot initiative establishing regional justice reform councils to assist Ukrainian partners with strengthening institutional cooperation as an important prerequisite for successful implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy 2015-2020 aiming to strengthen the rule of law and protection of human rights in Ukraine.

“Coordination and mutual understanding among key justice sector stakeholders is of utmost importance for effective implementation of the reform. Ukrainian people want to see effective, transparent and non-corrupt justice sector institutions,” – said Dr. Virgilijus Valančius, Team Leader of the EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine”.

The participants of the first meeting of the Odesa Regional Justice Sector Reform Council, which was moderated by Dr. Valančius, included leaders of the Court of Appeal of Odesa Oblast, Prosecution of Odesa Oblast, the Odesa Oblast Bar Council, as well as other representatives of the regional judiciary, state judicial administration, local municipality, and legal scholars. They discussed the issue of different interpretation of various legal norms, which they had identified as a key problem hindering effective cooperation among the justice sector institutions.

As a result of the meeting, the decision was taken on establishing a task force to work out the recommendations on solving problem issues related to the use of norms of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine on detention of an individual and imposing pre-trial restrain, as well as  on increasing quality of representation of interests of individuals in courts by advocates. The recommendations will be presented to the Judicial Reform Council under the President of Ukraine.

The next meeting of Odesa Regional Justice Sector Reform Council is scheduled for November 2015.