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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.
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).
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.