Ukrainian media lawyers travel to Strasbourg to improve their knowledge and understanding of European Court of Human Rights procedures, May 2015

Ten Ukrainian media lawyers followed an intensive 6 day training in Article 10 case law, admissibility procedures and attended a hearing at the court to help prepare them to take press freedom cases from Ukraine to Strasbourg. The training will help the lawyers defend the rights of Ukrainian journalists unfairly punished by unreliable national courts and seeks to promote the ECHR as a court of last resort as it remains an underused resource for beleaguered journalists from Ukraine.

The study tour and trainings were put together by IREX Europe together with the International Senior Lawyers Project and the Media Law Institute.

ISLP experts Richard Winfield and Natasha Lisman designed and delivered the training to a group of selected media lawyers from Ukraine, providing them with a specially designed syllabus and course material and offering one-on-one mentoring. The Media Law Institute in Kyiv selected ten highly motivated trainees, all already involved in the ECHR and Article 10. They included litigators in private practice, media NGO staff lawyers, and academics with media law expertise. The goal was to equip the trainees with substantive legal knowledge but also practical knowledge to prepare and handle appeals and the necessary advocacy skills to represent their media clients with effectiveness.

Nine different experts were recruited to speak to the trainees on different subjects, notably Peter Noorlander from the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) on third party interventions, Judge Ganna Yudkivska, a Ukrainian Judge at the ECHR, on her experience working as a judge at the Court and Karinna Moskalenko and Anna Maralyan from the International Protection Centre (Strasbourg and Moscow), ECHR legal experts who have argued numerous human rights cases before the Grand Chamber.

Trainees, ISLP trainers and the IREX Europe project manager then attended a hearing held at the Court in the case of AB vs Switzerland, an Article 10/Freedom of Expression case. After the hearing, the group was able to meet with defense lawyer Dr. Poncet and engage in a spirited discussion with him, following his argument in the Court.

ISLP experts will now provide remote mentoring to the Ukrainian lawyers as they pursue cases either in national Ukrainian courts or prepare cases for the ECHR in Strasbourg.

The training was organized in the context of the Media Freedom Support Project, implemented by IREX Europe in partnership with ISLP, MLI and other local partners and supported by the European Union.

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The Media Freedom Support Project is supported by the European Union.

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