Joint Parliamentary Committee Hearing to Discuss Bills Aimed to Implement a Classic Jury Trial Model for Selected Categories of Criminal Cases

On February 12, 2020, the leadership of the USAID New Justice Program as represented by David M. Vaughn and Nataliya I. Petrova made presentations at a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Committees on Legal Policy and Law Enforcement which was devoted to discussion of Draft Laws No. 2709 and No. 2710 aimed to implement a classic jury trial model for selected categories of criminal cases.

The participants to the event included Members of the Parliament; representatives from the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Justice, State Judicial Administration; judges including those of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and High Anti-Corruption Court; attorneys, prosecutors, academics, and representatives from non-government and international organizations.

Chairman of the Committee on Law Enforcement Denis Monastyrskyi and Chairman on the Committee on Legal Policy Andriy Kostin emphasized the importance of the GOU initiative in furtherance of Articles 124, 129 of the Constitution of Ukraine envisaging people participation in administration of justice through a jury trial rather than today’s actual trial involving lay assessors.

Among other things, the participants learned from Mr. Vaughn’s presentation about 200-year experience of jury trial in the US. Ms. Petrova presented an analysis of the current situation in Ukraine made from the US perspective. It evidences a need to revise the format and content of people participation in the process of administering criminal justice. The EU Advisory Mission Senior Advisor on Legal Reform, Thomas Flanagan, provided recommendations on enhancing the bills with allowance for the Irish experience.

The discussion results and concrete recommendations will be sent to the cognizant Parliamentary Committee for the purpose of refining the bills by February 19, 2020.