Ukrainian Justice Minister Zvarych Discusses Legal Reform with US Ambassador Herbst

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian Justice Ministry shares the USA's concern over excessive use of arrest at the stage of pre-trial investigation and the use of arrest as an investigative method. The ministry's press service told UNIAN this was discussed during talks between Ukrainian Justice Minister Roman Zvarych and US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst on 14 June.

Herbst said reform of the Criminal Code is important not just for improving the human rights situation in Ukraine, but also for combating corruption and organized crime. They also discussed the development of bilateral cooperation, in particular consultation and technical assistance from the USA in implementing reform of the courts and the legal system in Ukraine.

Herbst said the USA was ready to support a project to create a single website for the publication of Ukrainian court rulings. The Americans also emphasized the importance of approving a new Criminal Code for the consolidation of the primacy of the law in Ukraine.

Zvarych told Herbst Ukraine's new draft Criminal Code was designed to continue integrated court reform and takes into account the flaws that have been shown up by practice in the rules introduced under the so-called "small court reform".

The draft contains a number of fundamentally important new things aimed at ensuring quick and just court proceedings, on one hand, and ensuring the rights of those involved in criminal cases, on the other. The draft increases guarantees for the protection of victims and civil plaintiffs. A special chapter is devoted to ensuring the safety of individuals taking part in cases.

It also proposes depriving courts of the right to send criminal cases back for further investigation. This will allow courts to be "freed" from carrying out the function of the prosecutor and introduce the principle of competition [between prosecution and defence].

Source: BBC Monitoring Service