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On 12 and 13 June 2019, a delegation of ten members of the Ukrainian Association of Judges, led by its President Olena Yevtushenko, was invited by the IRZ to Bonn on a working visit to discuss investigative judges.
The IRZ, in partnership with the Ukrainian Association of Judges, regularly organises training sessions for judges. These events are usually held in various regions of Ukraine, but there are also some working visits to Germany. The working visits regularly focus on issues of current interest. On this occasion, the focus was on the role of investigative judges. Ten judges from district and appeal courts in Kiev, Lviv, Chernivtsi and Mukachevo benefited from intense expert discussions on this subject.
At the start of the visit, the Ukrainian guests were welcomed to the IRZ offices by Dr. Frauke Bachler, IRZ Managing Director, Dr. Stefan Weismann, President of the Regional Court of Bonn, and Gabriele Wester, Deputy Director of the Local Court of Bonn. This was followed by extensive expert talks with Dr. Jan Kraus, a judge at the Local Court of Königswinter, who worked for many years as an investigative judge. Based on the comprehensive list of questions previously submitted by the Ukrainian partners, Dr. Kraus talked about how investigation proceedings work and explained the procedural principles and different investigation measures, as well as focussing on the prerequisites for a detention order for custody awaiting trial.
On the afternoon of the first day of the visit, Bernd-Günter König, a former Senior Public Prosecutor, explained how public prosecutors and the police work together in investigation proceedings.
On the following day, the Ukrainian judges visited the Regional Court of Bonn to gain an insight into court practices. There they followed the trial of a criminal case and enforcement proceedings, which they were then able to discuss afterwards with the Presiding Judge.
From 20 to 23 May 2019, consumer protection experts from ministries, authorities and non-governmental organisations in the Republics of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine met in Berlin for a working visit. They were welcomed by IRZ Managing Director Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, who underlined the increasingly significant role played by consumer protection in the cooperation between the IRZ and its partner states.
At the start of the visit, the guests visited the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, where talks were held with their German colleagues on the fundamental issues of consumer policy and on consumer policy in the energy sector, in food legislation and product safety.
Other talks were held with the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (“Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband”), where the focus was mainly on law enforcement in consumer protection through the recently introduced model declaratory action (“Musterfeststellungsklage”). Further talks were held at the Berlin Consumer Organisation (“Verbraucherzentrale Berlin e.V.”), which is the first point of contact for consumer protection for citizens at community level.
Aspects of competition law were discussed during a meeting with the German Centre for Protection against Unfair Competition. The keynote address by the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information also explained the role and importance of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection when it comes to consumer protection.
This trilateral working visit could mark the start of a series of expert talks, allowing Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine to look in more detail at consumer protection issues specific to their own countries.
On 22 February 2019 the Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Protection, Dr. Katarina Barley, welcomed the Ukrainian Minister of Justice, Dr. Pavlo Petrenko, to a meeting at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in Berlin.
This meeting was also attended by Christian Lange, Vice-President of the IRZ Board of Trustees and Parliamentary State Secretary, and Vice-Minister Mr Petuchov. At this meeting, Minister Barley and Minister Petrenko signed a new working program for a cooperation between the two Ministries until the end of 2021, which will be implemented and brought to life by the IRZ.
The working program is based on a Joint Declaration on Legal Cooperation of the two countries dating from 13 March 2017 and aims to implement the Joint Declaration with specific measures.
The future cooperation between the two Ministries until 2021 will focus on the fight against and prevention of corruption, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the law on the legal profession, register law, penitentiary law, law on enforcement proceedings and in particular administrative procedure law.
The IRZ has been advising Ukraine for several years in setting up a draft legislation on an administrative procedure act which was submitted to the Verhovna Rada in late December 2018 after a long process of preparation. Other topics such as the right of petition, the freedom of information laws, the data privacy laws and the law on registered civil unions will be dealt with as part of the cooperation agreement.