In the Hague, Lidiya Izovitova, Valentyn Gvozdiy and Ivan Grechkivsky took part in the conference "EU and Eastern Partnership"

Advocacy 21:00 Wed 24.11.21 173 Reviews Print

Lidiya Izovitova, President of Ukrainian National Bar Association, Valentyn Gvozdiy, UNBA Vice-President, and Ivan Grechkivsky, Chair of UNBA International Relations Committee, took part in the EU-Eastern Partnership Neighborgood in the Hague (Netherlands).

The event is organized by a public organization, the LINKS Europe Foundation in cooperation with the City of Hague and with the support of The Hague Humanity Hub.

Opening the conference, LINKS Europe Director Dennis Sammut noted that all speakers would pay close attention to issues related to Ukraine.

"We have made Ukraine the center of this conference because this country is very important, but it is not always understood or appreciated," he said.

The Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands for Europe and the Eastern Partnership, Jaap Fredericks, emphasized that in the context, Eastern Partnership countries facing numerous challenges to their stability, including external ones, the rule of law is of particular importance.

"It is in our personal interest, as the EU, to invest in stability on our eastern borders. We are convinced that in this context, strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, and media freedom will make our partner countries more resilient, ”he said.

According to Antoinette Dimitrova, a professor at Leiden University, the rule of law should be given constant attention, as should media independence.

"The rule of law cannot be maintained if people do not understand what is happening, as well as without transparency," Ms. Dimitrova said.

Opening the session of the conference "EU and the rule of law in the Eastern Partnership countries: the example of Ukraine", Lidiya Izovitova presented the example of the bar as an institution created to implement the recommendations of European partners in the field of rule of law.

UNBA President reminded that the establishment of an independent organization of advocates was one of the conditions for concluding the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, ie it contributed not only to ensuring the rule of law in Ukraine, but also to fulfilling its international obligations.

"European standards for advocates in Ukraine have been applied for more than 9 years. This is an important contribution to the rule of law. This is important for the transformation of the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens into real opportunities and the introduction of mechanisms for their protection," UNBA President stressed.

Lidiya Izovitova said that today UNBA unites more than 62 thousand advocates who are completely independent of the state, the organization of their work is provided by a self-governing organization. Work is also under way to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe that any changes to the law on the bar be made only after consultation with UNBA, but unfortunately this principle is not always followed.

She stressed that UNBA is actively developing relations with colleagues from other countries, including Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Great Britain, Lithuania and Georgia. The Association is an observer in the largest organization of advocates in Europe - CCBE and develops cooperation with the IBA - the International Bar Association.

"Cooperation with foreign organizations of advocates is not a unilateral process for us. We have something to share: the experience of creating an association "from scratch" and successfully implemented projects, "said Lidiya Izovitova.

Among such projects, she mentioned the creation and development of the Unified Register of Advocates of Ukraine, as well as the development of a system of professional development and the creation of increasing opportunities for online training.

In turn, Valentyn Gvozdiy stressed that one of the keys to success in the establishment of UNBA was the involvement of representatives of all generations of advocates, as well as non-interference of the association in political processes.

Assessing the situation with the rule of law in Ukraine, he noted that in fact it is not as bad as Ukraine's foreign partners sometimes think.

During the conference, UNBA representatives also answered questions from the audience about the situation with lawsuits filed by the European Court of Human Rights from Ukraine, judicial reform and ensuring the rights of minorities.

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