On 14 September 2023, the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Co-operation with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and Coordination Centre for Legal Aid on the development and implementation of initiatives on child-friendly justice. The signing event gathered Oleksandr Banchuk, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Oleksandr Baranov, Director of Coordination Center for Legal Aid, and Erlend Falch, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, and other representatives from parties to the Memorandum.
The Memorandum establishes the basis for joint initiatives in the field of restorative justice according to Council of Europe standards, aimed at developing policies and practices to ensure the best interests of children who are suspected, accused of committing a criminal offense, have become victims or witnesses of crimes.
"The Ministry of Justice has a long and successful record of cooperation with the Council of Europe, in particular in the implementation of the child-friendly justice in Ukraine. Since 2019, in Ukraine there is a Restorative program for minors suspected in committing a criminal offence. This Memorandum will provide for the new opportunities in implementation of this program and spreading awareness about its availability among the target audiences and professionals,” – mentioned Oleksandr Banshuk, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine in his welcome speech.
“This Memorandum is the next step in co-operation between the Parties for implementing restorative justice with the participation of minors, making agreed decisions that meet the best interests of the child and contribute to the prevention of criminal offenses in Ukraine,” said Erlend Falch, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe in Ukraine.
"The Council of Europe Office in Ukraine will play an important role in supporting some activities in the field of restorative justice, including the educational and awareness-raising components, as well as the analytical direction, in particular the regulation of some processes," said Oleksandr Baranov, Director of the Coordination Center for Free Legal Aid.
Within the framework of the Memorandum implementation, the Council of Europe is planning training activities on mediation in the restorative justice, support in the development of legal acts in the field of mediation, and other activities.
The Memorandum was signed within the framework of the Council of Europe Project "Protecting the rights of Ukrainian children during and in post-war context".