The Third Round of the Rule of Law International Certification Program Has Begun

Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, in cooperation with the European Center for Rule of Law and the University of South Caroline and with support from the USAID New Justice Program, launched the third round of the Rule of Law Certification Program in the online format on April 8, 2021.

I would like to thank the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and the University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative for their partnership in designing and implementing this innovative initiative, recognizing their joint commitment to run the program in the future,” pointed out Marc Ellingstad, Director of the Office of Democracy and Governance, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Mission for Ukraine and Belarus.

David Vaughn, the USAID New Justice Program Chief of Party, thanked Ukrainian and American teachers of the Certificate Program who had took tremendous efforts to make training materials up to date, interesting, and useful in the perspective of practical application.

This Certificate Program is the quintessence of our team’s intensive work aimed to develop an independent, accountable, transparent, and efficient judicial system for the purposes of expanding access to justice, protecting human rights, and asserting rule of law in the country,” said Mr. Vaughn.

Yuriy Barabash, Vice-Rector of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, stressed that participation in the program enables trainees to understand how one can apply the rule of law principle in various spheres of law including human rights protection or business operations. According to professor Barabash, active involvement in discussions and experience sharing by all participants is an important component of the program.

While addressing the audience, Gregory Gisvold, Technical Director, Rule of Law Collaborative at the University of South Carolina, thanked the USAID New Justice Program for an opportunity to implement this unique Certificate Program. Mr. Gisvold underlined that rule of law concerns not only judges, prosecutors, or other legal practitioners but also every law school student and even every individual. That is why the capstone projects of the Program’s participants are so important.

This year, 190 legal practitioners filed applications for participation in the Certificate Program. Out of them, 30 participants were selected including judges, prosecutors, attorneys, judicial clerks, legal advisors from non-government organizations, representatives from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, and Secretariat of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada, investigators. The selection process allowed for regional representation, professional experience, and gender balance considerations.

The program consists of 20 modules covering the following areas: modern approaches to the rule of law; key rule of law actors; human rights and their protection; applying of rule of law in practice for various legal professions; legal reasoning and practical application of legal reasoning skills in various spheres of law; legal counseling and interviewing; dispute resolution.

The participants who attend all training sessions under the Program and prepare a capstone project in the application of rule of law for solving specific legal problems will receive the joint certificate of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and the University of South Caroline in July 2021.

Problems and solutions to them as proposed in capstone projects of earlier graduates from the Program were allowed for in draft laws being considered by the Parliament, decisions of the Congress of Judges of Ukraine, and briefs accompanying applications to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Rule of Law Certificate Program has been administered since 2018. The Program is intended to assert rule of law in Ukraine through an improved understanding of the practical application of rule of law elements by legal professionals. Heretofore, 59 legal professionals selected on a competitive basis from over 500 candidates from across Ukraine completed the training program and received the joint certificate of the Ukrainian and American universities. They represent 19 legal professions and 22 regions of Ukraine.

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