Kyiv, January 26, 2016. According to the State Center of Statistics each third internally displaced in Ukraine was forced to leave his/her working place or abandon own business while each fifth one lost his/her accommodation. That’s why the most topical assistance to internally displaced persons is legal aid. It is provided by both the state agencies and volunteer organizations, said spokesman of UCMC’s pilot project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” Valentyn Pugachov at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC).
Thus, “Goreniye”, an all-Ukrainian charity foundation, is one of the providers of free primary and secondary legal aid to internally displaced persons and ATO veterans. Denys Grechko, project manager at the foundation said that the Virtual consultancy center for provision of legal aid started operating from January 15. “There is a working place for a lawyer equipped with a computer. The person in need of legal aid turns to this access point via Skype, he/she is then put in contact with lawyers via Skype. The lawyers thus provide primary legal aid,” said Denys Grechko. If secondary legal aid is needed lawyers of the charity foundation are physically present in each of the regions in question. The foundation’s project manager said each lawyer is responsible for a certain region. “The center is now operational in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzia, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions,” he said. The foundation plans to set up free of charge phone line and expand the foundation’s activities to extra telecommunication services. “Over 100 people addressed us over the first six days. We see that people need legal aid and the service in question is in demand,” summarized Denys Grechko.
Artem Tkachenko, director of the Starobilsk-based Center for provision of free secondary legal aid said that the center sees its main task in creating equal opportunities for access to justice for all persons. It is first of all about protection and representation of interests of the persons who are entitled to free legal aid in courts and other state and local self-government agencies as well as in disputes with other persons. The center also assists in compiling documents of procedural nature.
According to Artem Tkachenko, the center ensures access to free legal aid for socially vulnerable categories of citizens as to civil and administrative cases. Area of responsibility of the Starobilsk-based center covers Bilovodsk, Bilokurakyne, Markivka, Milove, Novoaidar, Novopskov, Svatove, Stanytsia-Luhanska, Starobilsk and Troyitske districts of Luhansk region. “A person who needs his/her interests represented in court and has no sufficient financial means for that may turn to the center. He/she will then need to provide documents that prove he/she belongs to the category stipulated by law (Article 14 of the Law of Ukraine “On Free Legal Aid”). Services of a qualified lawyer are rendered free of charge to the applicant and are paid to lawyers by the state,” explained Artem Tkachenko. The state-financed center is not yet providing primary legal aid that includes explanations and consultancy. “It is planned to open 10 more legal aid bureaus in each of the above districts by June 1, 2016 where experts will be rendering primary legal aid and be collecting documents for provision of secondary legal aid,” announced the director of the Starobilsk center.
A total of 105 persons turned to the Starobilsk center for legal aid in 2015. The center engaged lawyers who deal with protection of the socially vulnerable categories of citizens in 64 cases, said Artem Tkachenko.