On 8 July 2021, UNODC through its Global Firearms Programme (GFP) organized a workshop on the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with UN Firearms Protocol. This was the first event in Ukraine, which has addressed the topic of illicit firearms trafficking within the context of criminal law and criminal procedural law. Forty five criminal justice experts have had the opportunity to present and discuss the challenges in investigation and prosecution of firearms trafficking offences in Ukraine.
By engaging numerous participants from the academia, the workshop has also made an important contribution towards enlarging the community of criminal justice practitioners engaged with the issue of illicit firearms trafficking. Representative from the following academic institutions participated in the event: National University “Kyiv-Mohila Academy”, State University of Internal Affairs in Dnepropetrovsk, State University of Internal Affairs of Lviv, National Academy of Internal Affairs, State University of Internal Affairs in Donetsk, State University of Internal Affairs in Kharkiv, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, National Academy of National Guards of Ukraine, National Academy of State Security in Ukraine, University of Finance and Customs, Odessa Law Academy National University, and the National Academy of Internal Affairs.
In additions, representatives from the Office of the Prosecutor’s General, Training Center of Prosecutors in Ukraine, State Border Guards Service, State Service on Export Controls of Ukraine, State Scientific Research Institute of Ukraine, National Police of Ukraine, State Bureau of Investigations, State Security Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Justice, State Customs Service, National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Research Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and from the OSCE attended the event.
The event was chaired by Professor Mykola Khavroniuk, Deputy Chairman of the Working Group on the Development of Criminal Law of the Commission for Legal Reform under the President of Ukraine, Department of Criminal and Criminal Procedure Law of the National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy".
The workshop was open by Ms. Zhannat Zhannat Kosmukhamedova, Head, Regional Programme Office for Eastern Europe (Kyiv) who provided a brief overview of UNODC’s activities in Ukraine. Ms. Christina Foester, German Federal Foreign Office, greeted the participants and in her address underlined the importance of the legislative work in countering illicit firearms trafficking. Mr Diman Dimov, UNODC, has provided an overview of the activities of the GFP in Ukraine.
The first part of the workshop was focused on the harmonization of the criminal law in Ukraine with the criminalization provisions of Article 5 of UN Firearms Protocol. Four speakers contributed to the discussions in this panel. The topic was introduced by Professor Olga Kryshevych, National Academy of Internal Affairs, through a presentation on the existing problems of harmonization of the national legislation of Ukraine with the UN Firearms Protocol and UNTOC.
Next, Professor Andriy Danylevskyi, Head of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Donetsk State University of Internal Affairs, has presented the state of implementation of Ukraine's international legal obligations in the field of criminalization of illegal handling of firearms in the context of criminal law reform.
The discussions continued supported by a presentation of Professor Vyacheslav Navrotskyi, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Lviv State University of Internal Affairs, who identified the problems of harmonization of the national legislation of Ukraine with the UN Firearms Protocol and UNTOC during the drafting of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine.
At the end of this panel, Professor Volodymyr Shablystyi, Head of the Department of Criminal Law, Dnipropetrovsk State University of Internal Affairs, contributed through a presentation on the problems of criminal liability for illicit trafficking in firearms under the current Criminal Code of Ukraine and in the draft of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The second panel of the workshop was dedicated on the topic of firearms within the context of criminal procedure and forensics. Mr. Oleksiy Sokolov, Head of the Firearms Research Department of the State Research Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, has initiated the discussion through a presentation focusing on the trafficking of firearms, their parts and components and the challenges in the research and obtaining sufficient firearms-related information for criminal procedure process.
Finally, Associate Professor Ruslan Shekhavtsov, Lviv State University of Internal Affairs, has presented proposals for improving the procedures for detecting, investigating and prosecuting for illegal production and trafficking of firearms and their parts and components, as well as their ammunition.
The workshop has provided an opportunity to take stock of the ongoing development of the draft Criminal Code of Ukraine and formulate proposals, which would result in harmonization of the proposed criminal provisions with the UN Firearms Protocol. The event has engaged for the first time in Ukraine experts from academia and state institutions who were able to work together and identify challenges within the criminal justice system. It was supported by a generous contribution from Germany.