On November 6-13, 2016, the USAID New Justice Program (New Justice) facilitated a USAID participant training study visit to Bratislava, Slovak Republic focusing on “Specialized Anti-Corruption Courts as a Tool to Improve Accountability and Access to Justice”.
Centered on exploring lessons learned and best practices developed in Slovakia that can be applied in Ukraine, Ukrainian delegation members, including members of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges, the Council of Judges, member of the Parliament, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and civic activists visited Bratislava’s Specialized Criminal Court, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the National Criminal Agency, the Ministry of Justice, anti-corruption and justice sector NGOs, and relevant media outlets.
Participants developed recommendations for the sound and coherent legislative framework for the anti-corruption courts in Ukraine. Those included:
1) developing the anti-corruption court as part of the government’s comprehensive and sustainable anti-corruption strategy;
2) defining clearly the jurisdiction of the anti-corruption court, focusing on significant high-level corruption cases;
3) ensuring court has national jurisdiction to limit local and regional interference and influence on corruption cases;
4) decisions of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors should be open and accessible, but with due respect for confidentiality;
5) avoiding dependence on investigators from general structure of law enforcement agency – they should be specialized and independent.
This study visit is one in the row of the New Justice efforts to support establishment of the anti-corruption courts in Ukraine, including identification and translation of comparative international resources, involvement of experts, coordination of the donor efforts to leverage the resources, and conducting of the on topic meetings. Among future activities in this area are regional discussion of the anti-corruption courts in spring and the expert roundtable discussion in Kyiv planned for March 3, 2017.