Effective law enforcement and justice reforms crucial for Ukraine’s future EU membership

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Photos: Boris Godlevsky

Written by: Serhiy Vakarin

On May 19, the European Union Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine opened its doors for the first time. Slynn Foundation was represented by its Project Coordinator Sergiy Vakarin, UkraineIS Chairman who takes part in the reform of the law enforcement and justice sector in Ukraine within the framework of bilateral programs of EU countries. Effective reforms in this area are among the key preconditions set by the EU for Ukraine’s future membership. Ten years ago the Slynn Foundation launched long-term cooperation with Ukraine in this area. Ten years ago Slynn Foundation commenced lasting cooperation with the law and order/justice sector in Ukraine. In particular, the Foundation initiated cooperation between the Supreme Court of Ukraine and the Supreme Court of the UK.

EUAM mission chief Kestutis Lancinskas said that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, with the help of EUAM experts, is developing a strategy for the activities of the Ukrainian police.

Deputy Head of the National Police of Ukraine Oleksandr Fatsevych spoke about a special-purpose police unit, which has been created with EUAM’s assistance. This unit will provide public security during mass events, including the Champions League finals in Kyiv.

Read more: Great philosopher and true friend of Ukraine Francis Fukuyama visited Kyiv

The basic principle of the Scandinavian model, which will be adopted by the new unit, is to minimize the demonstration of force. The experience of using this model in Denmark has been shared, in particular, by the EUAM expert, Deputy Chief Superintendent of Danish Police Poul Severinsen. Earlier, EUAM trained representatives of the Ukrainian police on methods to de-escalate tension during mass events.

Dialogue and mediation are the main tools of the police of the future.Trustee of the Slynn Foundation, former Lord Justice of England and Wales Rt Hon Sir Robin Auld and Sergiy Vakarin have recently met with Ukrainian authorities and discussed further cooperation with the law and order/justice sector in Ukraine. One of the proposed projects for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police of Ukraine relates to mediation.

Within the framework of the mediation project for law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, Sergiy Vakarin identified the following four areas where mediation is relevant to the police.

  • Field police officers acting as mediators themselves: delegation of the conflict resolution to the citizens. This category includes dialogue policing, in particular during mass events.
  • Complaints against the police: resolution through mediation between the officer(s) and citizen(s).
  • Complaints filed by police officers and employment disputes involving them, in particular whistleblowers. Effective whistleblower procedures, including internal police investigations and interagency mechanisms, are necessary. (Interagency mechanisms should, in particular, cover complaints of police officers to the MIA.)
  • Mediation and reconciliation in conflict-affected areas, including the role of police in special circumstances during and after major conflicts. Conflict-affected areas can be defined as conflict and post-conflict zones, especially war-affected areas.

EUAM has also been supporting the National Police with improvement of criminal investigation practices. In addition to the European experts, EUAM involves Canadian officers. Simon Remillard, an expert on criminal investigations of the Montreal police, has been helping the staff of the National Police of Ukraine in mastering new forensic technologies and investigation methods. During the Open Doors event, criminalists of the National Police of Ukraine demonstrated how the forensic kits provided by EU are used, including modern detection technologies for fingerprints, shoe prints and DNA traces. Sergiy Vakarin explained these methods to a group of schoolchildren who were the winners of previous UkraineIS events.

EUAM also provides assistance to other public authorities in Ukraine that are responsible for public safety. For example, EUAM helps the State Border Service to channel resources to the areas at greatest risk of potential violations. Within the framework of the Day of Europe, the dog trainers of the Service demonstrated how dogs search for explosives and drugs at Boryspil airport and other checkpoints.

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