The politics of justice: how Ukraine grows stronger during the war

The politics of justice: how Ukraine grows stronger during the war

Iryna Mudra, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine

Work in the legal field is a systematic, lengthy process. And, despite the fact that the victories in it are not so bright, their importance for the future of Ukraine is obvious. Now the focus of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine is on seven key areas of work that make the country stronger both domestically and internationally.

Recovery of assets of sanctioned persons

 The recovery of assets into the income of Ukraine concerns the persons against whom, according to the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council, sanctions have been imposed. The recovery is implemented within the framework of national legislation and allows the aggressor’s resources to be directed towards restoring the rights of the Ukrainian people and the country as a whole.

With regard to assets that are located abroad, in order to obtain them, it is necessary to develop and implement the terms of an international multilateral agreement. It is expected that this agreement will become the legal basis for the creation and operation of the international compensation mechanism and will establish the basic principles of its activities.

Effective recovery of sovereign and private assets requires:

 • improvement of national legislation and creation of the State Register of Sanctions, as well as increased liability for attempts to circumvent sanctions;

• streamlined work of the international Register of Damage, created on the basis of a decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;

• the implementation of an international multilateral agreement and the creation of a compensation fund for payments.

Effective enforcement of judicial decisions

One of the biggest problems in the Ukrainian legal system is the non-execution or prolonged execution of decisions of national courts. The situation is so complicated that it has already led to an unprecedented decision: the ECHR refused to consider cases of non-compliance with the decisions of national courts and sent a huge block of cases for control to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. This group of cases brings together more than 25 decisions and more than 12,148 applications, which have been under increased supervision since 2004.

The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, together with the Council of Europe, has developed a National Strategy for Addressing the Problem of Non-Execution of Court Decisions. For its full implementation it is necessary:

 • creation of a mechanism for recording and verifying court decisions to determine the total amount of debt and its repayment or compensation;

• revision of socially oriented legislation;

• creation of additional mechanisms for the implementation of court decisions on enterprises subject to moratoriums;

• development of a mechanism for improving judicial control and establishing or changing the method of enforcement of court decisions.

Protection of the rights of Ukrainians in international courts

Since the beginning of the aggression of the Russian Federation against our state in 2014, appeals to the ECHR with interstate statements against the government of the Russian Federation have become one of the priority areas for protecting the interests of Ukraine. As of July 2023, there are 4 interstate cases pending in the ECHR:

• “Ukraine vs. Russia (about Crimea)”

• “Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia”, concerning the events in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and human rights violations during the full-scale Russian invasion;

• “Ukraine v. Russia (VIII)” concerning the captured sailors;

• “Ukraine v. Russia (IX)” regarding the killings of opponents of the Russian Federation.

In addition, the case “Ukraine v. Russia (X)” is attached by the ECHR to the interstate case “Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia”, and, therefore, they are considered part of one proceeding.

Thanks to the decisions of the ECHR on the admissibility of the cases “Ukraine v. Russia (about Crimea)” and “Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia”, there is a clear confirmation by the international court of the possibility of the seizure and control of the Russian Federation over the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine since 2014.

The decisions of the ECHR will help the citizens of Ukraine and other persons who have submitted individual applications to the ECHR against Russia. In addition, it is extremely important for the consideration of cases of Ukraine against the Russian Federation by other international judicial institutions.

Punishment of war criminals  

 An important element in restoring justice is bringing to justice and punishing those who have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ukraine both by national courts and by the International Criminal Court. The main tasks that need to be implemented to achieve this goal are the development of cooperation with the International Criminal Court, as well as the corresponding changes in legislation.

 Overcoming corruption in the law enforcement system

Tougher criminal liability for committing corruption criminal offenses in the justice sector will prevent their commission in the future, as well as ensure fair punishment of violators.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to amend the legislation: to prepare and adopt the Law of Ukraine on amendments to laws on strengthening liability for corrupt criminal offenses in the justice sector.

 Checking the judges

Restoring the level of public confidence in the judiciary is the key to the development of a democratic society. Now the system needs mechanisms to monitor and verify candidates, as well as existing judges. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to update the legislation with amendments to the laws of Ukraine “On the judiciary and the status of judges” and “On the High Council of Justice” on the introduction of additional procedures to strengthen public confidence in the judiciary.

Establishment of a jury

Ensuring the direct participation of the people in the administration of justice by introducing a classic jury trial, which will provide the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time. Legislative changes are needed to achieve results.

Positive dynamics in these seven areas will help achieve justice in Ukrainian society, as well as strengthen democratic institutions and contribute to the overall development of Ukraine. That is why the Ministry of Justice considers these areas of activity a priority.


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