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Full Report on the Findings of the Trial Monitoring Programme in Ukraine

Judiciary /
Judicial reform

Full report based on the findings of the Trial Monitoring Programme in Ukraine, carried out in 2017 by the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform within “Safeguarding Human Rights through Courts” project of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine with the financial support of Global Affairs Canada. Available in Ukrainian only.

This publication presents the findings of the trial monitoring programme, which was implemented in 2017 by the NGO Centre of Policy and Legal Reform (CPLR) with support of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in


This was the first large-scale trial monitoring programme in Ukraine. Within the framework of this monitoring programme the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine aimed to:

Strengthen the capacity of civil society in trial monitoring on adherence to fair trial standards and

protection of human rights in Ukrainian courts;

Analyse monitoring findings in the light of applicable international fair trial standards, identify

gaps in the domestic framework and provide recommendations to address these gaps.

As a result of the implementation of this programme, a team of monitors who had completed a specialized

training course was formed. They will further be able to conduct trial monitoring regardless of its type

(systemic, thematic and ad hoc).

The purpose of this programme was not to identify errors or omissions in judicial practice attributable to

specific judges, but to establish the general trend and the changes in court proceedings with regard to

adherence to fair trial standards. Therefore, the analysis of the monitoring findings within the framework

of this programme cannot be regarded as assessing the performance of individual judges and may not be

regarded as an attempt to question or affirm the correctness of respective judicial decisions.

The findings of the monitoring reflect the open part of court proceedings, namely – the behaviour of judges

and participants in the course of the trial.

However, the rather optimistic findings of the monitoring need to be evaluated in the light of the fact that the

presence of monitors at hearings usually has a positive influence on the adherence to the procedural rules.

Thus, the situation in hearings where only the parties to the case are present may be different. This is also

confirmed by monitoring findings.

From the questionnaire of a monitor in a criminal case:

“Before the monitor appeared in the courtroom, there were no plans to conduct the panel hearing. Since the

defendant had failed to appear in court, the presiding judge intended to agree upon the date of the next

hearing with the prosecutor and the Special Service of Ukraine representative in his chambers. When the

judge realized that someone wanted to observe the trial, he put on his robe and badge, called for other panel

members to join him in the courtroom and conducted the hearing with audio recording”.

Report on the findings of the first trial monitoring programme in Ukraine 5


It is important to note that most monitoring visits took place in oblast capitals and their satellite cities. In more

remote areas, the public and monitors seldom attend open trials, thus, the judges there may demonstrate

different standards of conduct.

It is also worth stressing that this report does not provide any general assessment of the functioning of the

judiciary, but it only characterizes its external functioning side – the trials. Accordingly, the findings of trial

monitoring may become integral components of more complex justice sector monitoring programmes.

The findings of this monitoring may serve as a baseline for assessing the progress of judicial reform in


The authors would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine for

supporting this monitoring programme, as well as to those OSCE officials who co-ordinated the monitoring

programme and assisted with its implementation – Ms. Natalia Stupnytska, Ms. Natalia Betsa, Ms. Olena Lungol,

Mr. Yevhen Avramenko, Ms. Roksolana Melnyk, and the CPLR co-ordinator of monitors and information

manager of the programme – Ms. Yaryna Busol.