USAID Supports Ukraine in Reforming Its Juvenile Justice System

An All-Ukrainian Forum on Juvenile Justice initiated by the Ministry of Justice and the Interagency Coordination Council for Juvenile Justice is underway in Kyiv. . It is the first national platform intended to consolidate experts’ efforts aimed at enhancing the Ukrainian juvenile justice system so that it meets the international standards. The forum is conducted in cooperation with the USAID New Justice Program, UNICEF Ukraine, Agriteam Canada Consulting (implementer of Canadian government-funded international assistance projects), DEJURE Foundation, and All-Ukrainian Foundation for Children’s Rights.

Ann Hopper, Acting Director of the Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID Mission to Ukraine and Belarusa  welcomed the forum participants.

“USAID is pleased to support the government of Ukraine in building a more democratic and fair society which the key part of is ensuring justice for the most vulnerable, including children. This is truly a systematic interagency effort, and USAID is proud to have partners to support the Interagency Coordination Council for Juvenile Justice. These efforts are to ensure not just greater access for and protection of children in the justice system but to build greater public confidence and the integrity and the fairness of Ukraine’s judicial system,” stressed Ann Hopper.

Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko extended thanks to representatives of all government authorities engaged in the Coordination Council activities, as well as international partners for their comprehensive support and assistance with implementation of best international practices.

“We have set a goal to develop mechanisms and tools in an open and public manner, which would make Ukrainian children better protected. And most importantly would draw public and government officials’ attention to this issue. We managed to make protection of children a key issue on the government institutions’ agenda,” pointed out Minister Petrenko.

Participants in the forum include government officials, members of Parliament, international experts, academics, as well as judges, attorneys, and prosecutors working with minors who are in contact and/or conflict with law. Ukrainian and international experts share experiences and present best practices developed in Ukraine and other countries.

Experts of the USAID New Justice Program have presented a study titled “Children’s Attorney in the Juvenile System: Importance of Specialization in Working with Children” and held a workshop on the topic of the standards of training specialists who work with children in contact or conflict with law.

Following discussions, the forum participants will identify the key tasks for developing the Ukrainian juvenile justice system over the next year.