The Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors (QDPC) and the Council of Public Prosecutors of Ukraine (CCP), the support and self-governance bodies of the country’s Public Prosecution Service, play a crucial role on the national level in enhancing the independence, professionalism, integrity and effectiveness of the prosecution service, as well as ensuring a process of merit based recruitment and promotion of prosecutors, initial training, and disciplinary proceedings.
As Marten Ehnberg, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, mentioned in his welcoming speech, the adoption and enactment of the new Law on the Public Prosecution Service was a very important step in upholding one of Ukraine’s accession commitments to the Council of Europe. The long-awaited establishment of the prosecutorial self-governance and the support bodies in 2017 constituted a significant breakthrough in the reform of the prosecution service.
The Conference organised in Kyiv, Ukraine on 11 July 2018 was dedicated to the First year anniversary of operation of the QDPC and CPP. The event was co-organised by the Council of Europe within the framework of the Project “Continued Support of the Criminal Justice Reform in Ukraine”, funded by the Danish government, in cooperation with the European Union Advisory Mission to Ukraine and the two beneficiary institutions. The event brought together over 50 participants representing both national and international stakeholders, including high-level representatives such as Yurii Lutsenko, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Vitalii Hrushkovskyi, Chairman of the Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors, Mykhaylo Misiura, Head of the Council of Prosecutors of Ukraine, Mykola Palamarchuk, First Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement, Fredrik Wesslau, Deputy Head of European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine, Régis Brillat, Special Advisor of the Council of Europe Secretary General for Ukraine, Council of Europe international consultants Jeremy McBride and James Hamilton, esteemed judges, prosecutors, other criminal justice actors and civil society.
Régis Brillat took the opportunity to congratulate the Ukrainian prosecutorial community and acknowledged the importance of the set-up of these new institutions. He also brought into the audience’s attention the letter transmitted by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine back in 2016 when the Prosecutor General took his office: “Transformation of the Ukrainian prosecution system into a modern institution of European standard implies strengthening the external independence of the service and individual independence of prosecutors, introducing modern methods of operation of the prosecution service, enhancing its transparency and accountability. The reform should go hand in hand with measures aimed at combating corruption. All these efforts are essential to achieving public confidence in the institution and its effectiveness.” The Special Advisor reiterated that “the aim of the reform of the Judiciary is to build a modern Judiciary in which the population would place full trust. This is the ultimate criteria for the success of our common endeavour. Currently, the effective implementation of the reforms which have been carried out, as well as the completion of the reforms, are the goal the we should achieve.”
The event proved to be a forum for reflection on the achievements and key developments within the prosecution reform process, in particular as regards the set-up of the prosecutorial support and self-governance bodies, but also on the challenges the new institutions face and future prospects for enhancement of institutional independence, better organisational functioning and constructive cooperation.
Among others, the panelists approached topics like: compliance with standards of the Council of Europe, delineation of powers between newly created bodies and other stakeholders concerned, possible ways to increase an interest to prosecutor’s profession, systemic approach to selection and promotion of prosecutors, initial and continued training of prosecutors, integrated and unified approach during disciplinary proceedings, harmonisation of a case-law in this regard, etc.
As the Conference reached an end, the final words highlighted the relationship between the two institutions and the people: “It is of paramount importance that these institutions gain the public confidence from the very beginning of their operation. Transparency, accountability and professionalism are among key elements for achieving the public trust”, Marten Ehnberg. This is why the Council of Europe will continue to show its strong commitment and readiness to provide continued support to the reform of the prosecution service of Ukraine, including strengthening of the capacities of the Council of Prosecutors and the Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors with a view to facilitating the realisation of their functions in the most effective manner.