UBA Calls on the General Prosecutor of Ukraine to Adhere to the Code of Ethics

2016-12-13

KIEV - December 13, 2016. The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) published an open statement calling upon the General Prosecutor of Ukraine to observe the constitutional rights of citizens to receive legal aid and adhere to the code of professional ethics in public statements.

The Ukrainian Bar Association as a leading legal community of Ukraine, aimed at implementing the Rule of Law, increasing legal awareness and legal culture in society, repeatedly emphasizes the need to respect the right of legal defense for citizens and respect the professional rights of lawyers.

The UBA has always been unpolitical organization, but we cannot stand off to the fact that for the last 10 days we’ve witnessed two occasions of public statements of leaders of the General Prosecutor's Office, which show disrespect for the constitutional function of advocates to protect human rights and freedoms and legal profession as a whole.

On 6 December 2016, the Statutory Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine addressed the issue of granting approval to the criminal prosecution of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine Vadym Novinsky. Immediately after the Committee meeting of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko in highly insulting form addressed Oleg Tatarov, the advocate of Vadym Novinsky.

The Ukrainian Bar Association considers such statements of Yuriy Lutsenko a violation of law, professional ethics of prosecutors, and direct identification of attorney with his client, which is directly prohibited by law and international legal acts.

With the abovementioned public statement, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine violated a number of provisions of the Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct of Prosecutors regarding the criteria of objectivity, prudence, reliability, accuracy, and ethics in public speaking.

In addition, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted by the VIII United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention in August 1990, Art. 18 contain a clear prohibition to identify the attorney with his/her client in connection with their professional functions.

The Ukrainian Bar Association considers such behavior of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine unacceptable and insulting to any attorney representing a client and constituting a manifestation of disrespect to all attorneys and the constitutional function of providing legal aid to citizens.

As has been already noted, this is a repeating case. On 28 November 2016, Deputy Prosecutor General - Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios speaking at "112 Ukraine" Channel, made a public statement on the activities of a defense attorney in criminal proceedings where he identified the attorney with his client in a disrespectful manner.

The Ukrainian Bar Association expressed its deep concern to the abovementioned public statements of the top officials representing the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and the system in general, thus constituting a dangerous example for their subordinates.

The Ukrainian Bar Association insists on the strict observance of human rights and ensuring the implementation of professional guarantees of attorneys and calls on prosecutors to adhere to the professional code of ethics and the equality of rights of parties to criminal proceedings.

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