Canadian judges to help Ukraine boost court's public trust
Three Canadian judges will travel to Ukraine next week to continue a four-year project to help the conflict-ridden country's judicial system, CBC reported.
Their challenge: much of the Ukrainian population doesn't trust their own legal system. "Where do you begin with a system that doesn't have the support or the confidence of the public?" said Chief Justice Michael MacDonald, Nova Scotia's top judge, according to CBC.ca.
MacDonald will spend two weeks in Ukraine, alongside Justice Mary Moreau of the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta and Justice Denis Jacques of the Superior Court of Quebec. There will also be a team of court staff members.
"What we want to do is help the Ukrainian judiciary be better understood," MacDonald said.
The mission is in response to a Ukrainian request for assistance, said Jennifer Stairs, communications director for the Nova Scotia judiciary.
Stairs will be part of the team traveling overseas, with the primary goal of helping Ukrainian officials develop a communications strategy.
Poroshenko signs judiciary bill into law"There's a lack of appreciation for the role of the judiciary," said MacDonald. "Particularly on the importance of an independent judiciary."
Both the Ukrainian government and the court system have faced accusations of corruption. "Many in civil society may say it [the court system] is not working because it's corrupt," MacDonald said.
"If you talk to the judiciary, they would say they aren't accepted because they aren't understood," he said.
After years of growing mistrust in the government, even if the Ukrainian court system is cleansed of corruption, convincing the public of that will be a struggle.
"In every society there will be conflict," MacDonald said. "You have to have some institution — some body — to resolve those conflicts peacefully. If you don't, then what results is chaos and violence."
"And in order to have an institution that will resolve those conflicts peacefully, that institution has to have the faith of the public," he said.
The judges and court staff will leave for Ukraine on Saturday and will return mid-November.