EUAM presents report on how to make Ukrainian courts more secure

September 27, 2017

The security of Ukrainian courts was the subject of an extensive roundtable discussion organised by the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM). A lack of security for courts and the people who work in them may have serious consequences for judicial independence. A Dutch expert has spent the last half-year analysing the court security situation in Ukraine and he presented his findings today.

Mr Cees Tax, who as National Security Officer at the Council for the Judiciary in the Netherlands has overall responsibility for the security of Dutch courts, concluded that the current framework for defending courts is inadequate. Among other proposals, his report highlights the need to introduce baggage-scanning equipment and updated alarm systems at courts. One of the report’s main recommendations is that the specialised Court Security Service which is due to be created should have staff trained in prevention-oriented ways to deal with potential threats and risk awareness.

Over the past six months, Mr Tax has travelled to seven courts of different levels in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv as part of a EUAM-funded project. The report presented today is the result of this work.

“There is a need for rapid action on the court security issue,” said Joëlle Vachter, Deputy Head of  EUAM at the roundtable discussion. “The National Guard and the National Police of Ukraine are providing security in courts on a temporary basis, but a security policy for courts should urgently be developed. The significant deficiencies in the security of the courts in Ukraine will not be removed simply by throwing money at the problem. What is needed, in addition to proper financing, is careful thought, analysis and planning.”

The presentation of the report was accompanied by a presentation by the Head of the State Judicial Administration, Zenoviy Kholodniuk, who outlined the existing problems of the court security system in Ukraine. Valentyna Symonenko, the Judge of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, also stressed the need to strengthen the security of the courts.