On 2 July 2015, the meeting of the Lviv Regional Justice Sector Reform Council brought together judges, prosecutors, lawyers and legal scholars to discuss the Justice Sector Reform Strategy 2015-2020 as well as related topics. The event was organized within a pilot initiative aimed to establish regional justice reform councils to assist Ukrainian partners in successful implementation of the Justice Sector Reform. The first meeting already took place in Odesa on 19 June. The initiative will also be launched in Kharkiv.
“The format of regional justice sector reform councils enables representatives of the judiciary, prosecution and the bar to begin a constructive dialogue which is crucial to the implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy 2015-2020,” – 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 Lviv Regional Justice Sector Reform Council, moderated by Dr. Valančius, discussed the ways to improve performance of courts and law-enforcement bodies for human rights protection and strengthening the rule of law. They also indicated the problems hindering effective implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy and agreed to prepare recommendations on their solution, which would be distributed among the justice sector institutions.
Second meeting of the Lviv Regional Justice Sector Reform Council is scheduled for October 2015.
Virgilijus Valančius also participated in the round table that gathered judges and chief editors of local media outlets to discuss effective steps to improve cooperation between the mass media and the judiciary. The event was initiated by the NGO “Harmony and Order” and Lviv branch of the Ukrainian Bar Association. During the event, Dr. Valančius spoke about interaction between the journalists and the judges in Lithuania. He stressed that effective media relations were important for successful implementation of Ukraine Judiciary Development Strategy 2015-2020. According to this document, media relations units should be established in every jurisdiction by the end of 2017. The courts will be obliged to organize press-conferences on the outcomes of high profile cases by the end of 2015.