Update of the Criminal Legislation in Ukraine: Ongoing Progress and Future Directions

December 08, 2023

Todays’ meeting is only the beginning to the path to the law,” said the Head of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, Rolf Holmboe, meeting the Working Group on the Development of Criminal Law and the Verkhovna Rada Law Enforcement Committee, during a meeting facilitated by the Mission in Kyiv on 5 December.

The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Law Enforcement Committee, Sergii Ionushas, spoke at the meeting, also attended by representatives of the Ukrainian law schools, specialists in the area of criminal law, and representatives of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine.

EUAM Rule of Law Component Head Veronika Kristkova explained that work on the draft of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine is ongoing, with the aim of developing a criminal justice system that aligns with international and European standards. The harmonisation of Ukraine’s criminal legislation with EU acquis communautaire is especially important in view of Ukraine’s process of accession to the European Union.

During the meeting, the participants discussed various aspects of the draft of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine prepared by the Working Group, including its conceptual provisions, its main differences from the current Criminal Code, in particular degrees of gravity of crimes, types of punishment, and conceptual provisions related to the institute of exemption from punishment.

Rolf Holmboe underlined about the importance of the drafting process, and his admiration for the Ukrainian specialists to carry on with it amidst the challenging circumstances endured because of the Russian full-scale invasion. He also acknowledged the resilience of the Group, emphasising the effort, both mental and physical, invested in the 170 pages of the draft Code. EUAM’s head added that the mission is ready to serve as a platform for future meetings of the Working Group with the Verkhovna Rada Law Enforcement Committee to continue its work on the update of Ukraine’s criminal legislation.

This meeting underscores the ongoing collaboration between EUAM and Ukrainian authorities in developing and reforming the criminal law framework. EUAM remains committed to supporting Ukraine in its civilian security sector reform.