Transitional Justice in PostCommunist and PostConflict Societies The Case of Ukraine

Impairing three centuries of colonial subjugation when it finally attained its independence in 1991, Ukraine has faced tremendous difficulties in instituting democracy, taking in a rule of law. The country became a member of the Council of Europe in 1995, willingly committing itself to carry out duties regarding the implementation of a new democratic regime, the framing of new criminal and civil laws, the reorganization of the legal system and the harmonizing of its constitution with European principles and values of freedoms and human rights. The enactment of a constitution in June 1996 articulating Ukraine’s aim to adopt a rule of law was summoned by the Council of Europe.
The National Commission for the Strengthening of Democracy and the Rule of Law, an organization founded in 2005 within the presidential secretariat to check and examine adherence to the Copenhagen standards for potential membership in the European Union (EU), endorsed a draft model for the restructuring of the criminal justice system which suggests extensive reforms aspiring to improve criminal legislation and reorganize the entire system based on human rights. But in general there is less democracy in Ukraine at present than there was a decade ago. Ukraine is in evasion of its duties under the provisions of its membership to the Council of Europe, the legal system on the whole remains corrupt, disorganized, and incompetent, executive and legislative inflexibility have left programs in relation to Ukraine’s obligations delayed in a legislative pit, and corruption is widespread in the public administration of Ukraine. Therefore, Ukraine’s perception of the law is defined by suspicion and distrust.