Ukrainian constitutional court judges attend expert talks at the IRZ in Bonn

 

Former judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ (from left to right)
Former judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ (from left to right)

From 26 to 29 November 2017, a delegation from the Constitutional Court of Ukraine once again attended expert talks in Bonn by invitation of the IRZ.

As well as the acting Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Victor Kryvenko, the delegation also included three other constitutional court judges from Ukraine and two research employees of judges at the constitutional court.

The German speakers were the same as for the two previous expert discussions of this kind held in May 2017 and November 2016: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier and Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, both of whom used to be judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.

Once again, the focus of the talks was on handling constitutional complaints. After all, as we have already reported (Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine), this means of filing an individual complaint (as a legal complaint) has since been introduced in Ukraine in accordance with the bill to amend the constitution adopted in June last year.

German experiences of handling constitutional complaints are of great interest and benefit to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, in so far as helping citizens to exercise their rights as effectively as possible is concerned.

Practical issues concerning written and oral procedures and the allocation of responsibilities between the two Senates of the German Federal Constitutional Court were also discussed. The talks also covered the question of whether a constitutional court can help with the process of dealing with the past during the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic form of government. Finally, they also discussed how various fundamental rights can be weighed up against each other.

The format of carrying out this kind of constitutional expert discussion in a small group has proved to be successful, since it allows a much more intensive exchange of expertise than is possible in large conferences.

The IRZ will also aim to include, where possible, one or two expert discussions of this kind in its agenda for 2018.

Delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine visit Berlin to discuss the prison system

The delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with Oksana Reiter and Oksana Paschenko with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach (front row from the left)
The delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with Oksana Reiter and Oksana Paschenko with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach (front row from the left)

From 13 to 16 November 2017, a delegation from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine led by Oksana Reiter, Head of the External Relations Department, were in Berlin on a working visit. The delegation included, amongst others, the Director of the state prison service department, Oksana Paschenko, as well as its Deputy Director, Oleksii Bondarenko.

To begin the visit, the Head of the “International Legal Cooperation; Proceedings” department, Alexandra Albrecht, welcomed the guests to the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). Whilst there, Claudia Eller-Funke gave a speech about the structure and work of the Ministry.

Afterwards, the Head of the “International Fight against Terrorism; penal legislation for the protection of the state” department, Dr. Martin Hiestand, informed the guests about the regulations for the enforcement of life sentences. Talks with the Head of the “Law Enforcement” department at the Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, Susanne Gerlach, dealt with this focal point of the visit in more detail.

A visit to the Tegel penal institution and talks with its Director, Martin Riemer, and the Public Relations officer at the JVA, Rafael Galejew, presented an opportunity for further discussion of prison system regulations and practices.

To conclude the visit, the Ukrainian guests visited the Berlin young offenders’ institution and held talks with its Deputy Prison Director, Silvia Hawliczek.

The subject of the prison system and in particular conditions of detention for life prisoners, which is covered by the cooperation agreement between the BMJV and the Ministry of Justice in Ukraine, was met with great interest by the Ukrainian visitors and is set to be continued next year with a focus on open prisons.

Expert seminar on the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

  • Final photo of the participants and experts of the seminar on the HCCA in Kiev

    Final photo of the participants and experts of the seminar on the HCCA in Kiev

  • Presentation held by Martina Erb-Klünemann,  Judge at the Local Court of Hamm, liaison judge in the European Judicial Network and in the International Hague Network of Judges

    Presentation held by Martina Erb-Klünemann, Judge at the Local Court of Hamm, liaison judge in the European Judicial Network and in the International Hague Network of Judges

  • Judges discussing the practical cases dealing with the HCCA

    Judges discussing the practical cases dealing with the HCCA

On 26 and 27 June 2017 the IRZ organised a seminar on the Hague Convention (HCCA) in Kiev. The event covered civil aspects of international child abduction. It was organised in cooperation with the Ukrainian Association of Judges and was financed with funds from the Federal Foreign Office. It addressed in particular judges who also travelled to this seminar from the various regions of Ukraine.

In contrast to Germany, there has been no specialisation of the courts in the HCCA in Ukraine so far, which means that basically every judge can be confronted with a case of international child abduction.

The objective of the two-day seminar was therefore to give the participants a clearer insight into how to practically implement the Hague Convention and also to provide a systematic structure for solutions based on specific cases.

With this event, the IRZ is continuing its important cooperation on this topic, and it can rely on the continuous support by the Federal Office of Justice, this time represented by Ulrike Kluth, in organising this kind of events.

The local court judge Martina Erb-Klünemann took part as German expert again. She has been the German liaison judge for many years and has already participated in many seminars on this topic in Ukraine. Therefore she has seen the progress made in Ukraine in this area over the past few years and can give an informed assessment. Unfortunately, no liaison judge has been appointed in Ukraine so far. However, this is to take place as soon as possible in order to make the international cooperation in this area easier.

The representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice attending the event asked for further support from their German counterparts with regard to the potential introduction of an implementation law on the HCCA in Ukraine. and they also favoured a continued cooperation on the application of the HCCA.

Expert discussions on the HCCA at a ministerial level already took place in Wustrau earlier this year. They were held as part of the cooperation agreement between the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection: Seminar of a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in Wustrau dealing with mediation in the context of the HCCA (LINK).