Dmytro Schebetyuk, UNDP Tolerance Envoy, at the official opening of the rehabilitated Vuhledar city court, Donetsk oblast. Photo credit: Dmytro Symonenko / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 6 March 2019 – The conflict-affected population of Donetsk Oblast now has improved access to justice following the official opening of the rehabilitated Vuhledar city court. The building has undergone major refurbishment in line with universal design principles within the framework of the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with financial support from the European Union and the Government of the Netherlands. The total cost of the project was estimated at US$79,396.

The reconstruction of the court building was preceded by a thorough accessibility assessment of all the court buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The report provided in-depth data on the accessibility of the courts, assessing them against national and international legal frameworks. It contains recommendations and the costs needed to improve their conditions.

“Today we are marking yet another important event that will bring justice closer to the people, especially for Ukrainians who live in the non-government-controlled area and visit Vuhledar, because of its close location to the ‘contact line’ to secure access to justice. There can be no effective access to justice if the buildings in which law enforcement agencies and the judiciary are located are not physically accessible”, stated Mr. Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Ukraine Country Director.

The court is now equipped with a ramp, has a reconstructed heating, ventilation, sewage systems, LED lamps, a metal detector, new furniture and other equipment. In the words of Olha Luniova, acting Chairperson of Vuhledar City Court, “The benefits of a rehabilitated court building for the residents of Vuhledar are evident. Thanks to the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme and the Government of the Netherlands, people from both the government-controlled area and the non-government-controlled area now have better access to all the court system.”

“Сourt visitor’s impression is formed from the threshold. The court begins with a ramp, stairs, toilets, corridors with waiting places and desks for preparation for court sessions. The perception of the court also depends on the extent to which the arrangement of courtrooms satisfies the needs of both judges and participants, as well as listeners. With the support of UNDP Ukraine, the European Union and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, the openning of a new accessible court  for different categories of people is a good sign for Ukraine and its judicial system", stated Dmytro Hudyma, the Judge of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.

The official opening was also followed by a joint discussion of issues related to further promotion of access to justice and rule of law, with the participation of local authorities as well as civil society organizations.

Background:

The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (RPP) addresses priority needs in eastern Ukraine after armed conflict erupted in the spring of 2014. The Programme is intended to strengthen community security and social cohesion, support the economic recovery of conflict-affected communities, and further the implementation of decentralization and healthcare reforms in government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

The RPP is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: UNDP, UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Programme is supported by nine international partners: the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan. Its total budget for 2019-2022 is over US$50 million.

Media enquiries:

Maksym Kytsiuk, Communication Associate, maksym.kytsiuk@undp.org, +380635761839

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