Kyiv, December 23, 2015. Since March this year, activists of the Open Court project filmed 2,000 court hearings, 20 specialized higher educational institutions have become partners of the project, 50 courts across Ukraine signed agreements on ensuring transparency of trials, said Stanislav Batryn, Director of the project “Open Court”, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Over 400 independent experts made video recordings of trials in civil, criminal, administrative and economic cases. “Our project focuses on business reputation and standards of justice for judges, lawyers and prosecutors. None of the parties has an advantage over others. The three participants answer the question whether or not they achieve justice,” emphasized Mr. Batryn. He said a video of flagrant violations by any party in litigation collects about 100,000 views. It has a huge impact on the reputation of a person for years to come.
The project is supported by the Western NIS Enterprise Fund. According to Iryna Ozymok, Program Manager, the project involves citizens in carrying out the judicial reform. In her opinion, it has a positive impact on the investment attractiveness of Ukraine in terms of the international community. Oksana Tsymbrivska, Expert at the EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine”, said that Ukraine is the only EU country that has such a practice – an independent reporter present at the hearing. “Ukraine creates best practices to implement reforms,” she said. Ms. Tsymbrivska also noted that it is important not only to condemn a “guilty” judge or lawyer, but require disciplinary consequences for such persons.
According to Stanislav Kravchenko, Deputy Chairman of the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases, the Open Court’s material is also useful in training future judges and other participants in the trial. So they can learn the standards and ethical side of the trial.
Leonid Lazebnyi, lawyer, chief editor at the magazine “Advocat” (“Lawyer), cited statistics, according to which, judges believe that media and government have the same effect on them. He stressed that when a camera appears in the court it always “disciplines and creates an atmosphere of real justice.”
Stanislav Batryn also shared his plans for next year: massive regional offices of the project Open Court, reaching a point of 10-20 thousand videos a year, and the implementation of educational projects with schools.