Ukrainian judges take part in judicial exchange in Dublin and Belfast
Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI), an all-island not-for-profit Irish organisation established to promote the rule of law in resource-restrained countries, hosted its first Ukrainian judicial exchange in Dublin and Belfast during the last week of October, in collaboration with European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine.
The members of the Ukrainian judiciary that participated in the exchange were Nataliya Antonyuk, a judge from the Supreme Court of Ukraine; Liliia Darahan, a judge of the Court of First Instance of General Jurisdiction; and Tatiana Bobko, a judge of the Kharkiv District Court of the Kharkiv Region.
The focus of the exchange was to provide the Ukrainian judges with Irish and Northern Ireland expertise in the area of atrocity crimes.
The exchange formally began with a full day of workshops at the Law Society of Ireland where Judge Fergal Gaynor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Professors Raymond Murphy and Shane Darcy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University of Galway (ICHR) presented on various topics relating to international criminal law and international humanitarian law.
The following day, the Ukrainian judges were brought for a tour of the Criminal Courts of Justice and the Four Courts and met with Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty, Ms Justice Karen O’Connor and Judge Gráinne Malone.
The Ukrainian judges also had the opportunity to attend a number of trial hearings in the Criminal Courts of Justice and the Four Courts throughout the day. That evening’s event was hosted by the President of the Law Society, Maura Derivan, at the President’s Suite at the Law Society of Ireland.
The second part of the exchange took place in Belfast and started with a welcome reception at the Law Society of Northern Ireland which was hosted by its president, Brian Archer. The vice-president, Peter O’Brien, was also in attendance together with Mr Justice John Edwards and other members of the Northern Ireland legal professions.
The following day, a number of workshops took place at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Yvonne McDermott Rees, a professor from Swansea University, opened the day by presenting on open-source investigations (OSINT), a key area of relevance for the Ukrainian judges. Workshops followed with professors from QUB. Professor Luke Moffet delivered a presentation on reparations, and Professor Louise Mallinder and Cheryl Lawther presented on transitional justice concepts and victimhood in the Northern Ireland context.
Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland Dame Siobhan Keegan welcomed the Ukrainian judges to the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast the following day. The Ukrainian judges were given a tour of the Royal Courts of Justice, the Bar Library and had the opportunity to attend a case hearing at the Court of Appeal.
The exchange was completed with a black taxi tour around Belfast where the Ukrainian judges finished the tour at the Peace Wall in Belfast and signed messages of hope and courage in a touching tribute to all of those who have endured suffering during the conflict in Northern Ireland.