At the International Conference of Court Public Information Officers, which was organized by the U.S. Association for Court Communicators and held in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, on August 4-7, 2019, representatives of the Ukrainian delegation – Deputy Chief Judge of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine Yevhen Kruk, Speaker Judge of Khmilnyk city district court of Vinnytsya Oblast Olha Honcharuk-Alifanova, Communications Advisor of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Karyna Aslanyan, Head of the Press-Service of the Supreme Court Mariia Shvenko, Head of Press-Center of the Judiciary Oksana Lysenko, the USAID New Justice Program Legal Advisor Uliana Pashynna, and Public Information Officer of Court of Appeals of Khmelnytsky Oblast Yulia Saldan, – presented the experience of implementing public education projects for children and the youth by Ukrainian courts. The USAID New Justice Program organized participation of Ukrainian specialists in the Conference so that they could share experience and improve their professional skills with allowance for specifics of American court communicators’ work.
The Conference participants took interest in the Justice Lesson Project, which was implemented by the Ukrainian Association of Judicial Self-Governance Development, a grantee of the USAID New Justice Program, on the initiative of Supreme Court Justice Volodymyr Kravchuk, the author of the project. As part of the presentation, judicial communication experts from USA, Australia, and Albania watched The Horse vs. Hamster, an informercial cartoon exposing children to the idea of justice and helping them to understand the court mission in the society. This Ukrainian initiative was highly appreciated by the conference participants as American courts, like Ukrainian ones, recognize the importance of educating the young generation on judicial matters for building public trust in courts. Like their American counterparts, Ukrainian courts deliver public lectures, administer legal quests, open door days, and other public education events for children and young people. In addition to discussion of current Ukrainian initiatives for conducting students’ debates in law schools, open lessons intended to familiarize secondary and high school students with criminal procedures, short-term “law schools” where trainees master basics of the judicial process, members of the Ukrainian delegation told to their American colleges about the Kyiv Judicial School of Journalism which operates under umbrella of the Kyiv Court of Appeals to secure a professional media coverage of the court activities.
Besides public education, presenters covered such essential topics as courts’ communications in the social media, crisis response plan, and counteracting disinformation and propaganda.
During the conference, members of the Ukrainian delegation discussed with the American colleges the challenges Ukrainian courts face in the sphere of communications, and shared best practices in this area.