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).

Seminar of a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice in Wustrau dealing with mediation in the context of the HCCA

  • Delegation and speakers together with Christiane Uckrow (at the top), Administration Manager of the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau

    Delegation and speakers together with Christiane Uckrow (at the top), Administration Manager of the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau

  • Expert talks about the HCCA. Birgit Mix, Federal Office of Justice; Sabine Brieger, Local Court Judge; Zoë Schlär, MiKK e. V.; Olga Zozulia, Head of Sub-Division at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (from right to left)

    Expert talks about the HCCA. Birgit Mix, Federal Office of Justice; Sabine Brieger, Local Court Judge; Zoë Schlär, MiKK e. V.; Olga Zozulia, Head of Sub-Division at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (from right to left)

The IRZ invited a delegation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to a conference at the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau and in Berlin from 24 to 28 April 2017. The seminar dealt with mediation in the context of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCA).

The event was organised as part of the recently signed renewal of the cooperation agreement between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, which also includes the HCCA as one of the joint fields of activitiy.
The German speakers were Dr. Nicola Wenzel, Head of the Division of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in charge of the HCCA, and Tina Rozman from the same division, and Birgit Mix, German Federal Office of Justice as central authority, HCCA liaison judge and local court judge Sabine Brieger and Zoë Schlär, MiKK e.V. (International Mediation Centre for Family Conflicts and Child Abduction).

The conference, which included presentations, discussions and practical mediation exercises, was aimed at improving the handling of cases relating to the HCCA. The IRZ had already organised similar practice-related events on this issue in the past, which led to specific improvements in the handling of many cases. After the meeting in Wustrau, the delegation visited the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection for a follow-up of the working week and for discussing opportunities for further cooperation.

Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

  • Sviatoslav Piskun, Chairman of the Union of Lawyers of Ukraine; Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Director; Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Stanislav Shevchuk, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Oleksandr Vodyannikov, Head of the Department for the Rule of Law of OSCE and OSCE project coordinator in Ukraine; Brigitte Bierlein, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Austria (left to right).

    Sviatoslav Piskun, Chairman of the Union of Lawyers of Ukraine; Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Director; Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Stanislav Shevchuk, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Oleksandr Vodyannikov, Head of the Department for the Rule of Law of OSCE and OSCE project coordinator in Ukraine; Brigitte Bierlein, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Austria (left to right).

  • Alexandru Tanase, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova; Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Victor Kolisnyk, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Matthias Hartwig, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (left to right).

    Alexandru Tanase, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova; Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Victor Kolisnyk, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine; Matthias Hartwig, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (left to right).

  • Participants of the conference

    Participants of the conference

On 7 and 8 October the international conference “Constitutional Control and the Processes of Democratic Transformation in Modern Society“ took place in Kiev on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. It was organised by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in cooperation with the IRZ, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE project office in Kiev.

A large number of presiding judges and judges from other constitutional courts, many of them from IRZ partner countries, participated in the conference. The conference focused in particular on the role of constitutional jurisdiction in sometimes extremely difficult reform situations. This received much attention, given the fact that in recent months and years the development of democracy and the rule of law had suffered setbacks in some states.

The expert exchange was characterised by an open and problem-oriented discussion. From the German side the former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court Dr. Dieter Hömig, Prof. Dr. Lutz Arnold from the University of Regensburg and Dr. Matthias Hartwig from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law took part.

The Ukrainian speakers pointed out the model function of German constitutional law several times. The IRZ has been supporting Ukraine for many years not only in the reform of its constitutional law, but also in the drafting of a law on the Constitutional Court, which is currently being revised, and of rules of procedure. With the last amendment of the Ukrainian constitution the instrument of the constitutional complaint was introduced. The IRZ has been asked for advice in this context and is currently playing an important advisory role. The IRZ had several expert talks and has submitted some expert opinions, which are to be followed by more. Now a particular focus must be placed on implementing the constitutional complaint in court practice.

The opening speeches at the conference were given by:

  • Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine
  • Yurii Baulin, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine,
  • Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe
  • Veronika Keller-Engels, IRZ Director
  • Oleksandr Vodyannikov, representative of the Kiev OSCE Office and
  • Sviatoslav Piskun, former Public Prosecutor General and Chairman of the Union of Lawyers of Ukraine.