EUAM conference in Kyiv encourages greater cooperation between national and international criminal justice agencies

EUAM -Ukraine: A conference organized by the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Kyiv on 20-21 May explored the ways in which cooperation between police officers, prosecutors and judges could be enhanced in Ukraine at both a national and international level to investigate and prosecute crime.

There are a number of obstacles to efficient cooperation between law enforcement and the rule of law agencies in Ukraine. This reduces the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. These obstacles include limitations imposed by the existing legal framework, a lack of specialization among investigators and prosecutors and a centralization of international cooperation mechanisms, which can slows down the possibility for decisions to be taken quickly in border regions where they are most needed.

“I am delighted to see so many high-level police officers, prosecutors, and judges here today,” said EUAM Deputy Head of Mission Fredrik Wesslau in his closing remarks at the end of the conference. “You have shown a genuine interest in finding practical ways to improve cooperation all along the justice chain. We all recognize that there are many obstacles to increased cooperation. At the same time, I think one of the key takeaways from this conference is that closer cooperation by agencies at all levels can mitigate against these shortcomings”.

The focus on the conference was on practical solutions that could be achieved within the existing legal framework. EUAM has promoted changes to Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code and other aspects of the legal framework to improve interagency cooperation and is working closely with the Ukrainian Parliament to support legislation in this area. One obstacle is for example the lack of structure for decisions on coercive measures. Because there are no investigative judges or prosecutors ‘on call’, investigators often have to wait days for a decision.

“There are plenty of European best practices that can be drawn on, as well as lessons learned from mistakes made by your European neighbors, which will help Ukraine advance faster on its reform track,” Mr. Wesslau added.