DOJ/OPDAT Eurasia Programs
OPDAT has comprehensive criminal justice programs, implemented through Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs), in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
The OPDAT RLA in Armenia has worked closely with the Armenian experts to revise the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to address current inequities in the criminal justice system, including requiring police testimony at trial and pretrial evidentiary suppression hearings before a judge. The new CPC, which is expected to be enacted in early 2012, will strengthen judicial independence, hold law enforcement more accountable for their conduct and introduce the best practices of the adversarial system. OPDAT also actively partners with Council of Europe experts to present practical workshops on effective implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Strasbourg Court's caselaw.
The OPDAT RLA in Baku, Azerbaijan, works with Azeri counterparts on trial advocacy, money laundering, human trafficking and anti-corruption initiatives. The RLA partners with local legal experts to conduct training on trial advocacy and the effective use of Azerbaijan's new Criminal Procedure Code by judges and prosecutors, including covering the mandates of the European Convention on Human Rights. OPDAT continues to assist the Azeris with the design and implementation of an anti-corruption strategy compliant with Azerbaijan's international commitments, including mentoring a specialized anti-corruption unit at the Prosecutor's Office. The RLA is also supporting skills development training programs focused on labor trafficking.
The two OPDAT RLAs in Georgia work with local legal and law enforcement counterparts on criminal procedure, trial advocacy, witness protection and a victim-witness assistance as well as on combating corruption, economic crime and narcotics trafficking. In October 2010, Georgia's new Criminal Procedure Code came into force, introducing an adversarial criminal process from investigation through trial and appeal as well as jury trials for first degree murder cases, initially in Tbilisi but later to other parts of the country. To ensure effective implementation of the new CPC, OPDAT is assisting with jury trial administration issues along with continued work to enhance the adversarial skills of prosecutors. Georgia conducted its first jury trial in November 2011. Building on their work with the Georgians on the CPC, the OPDAT RLAs are working with Georgians to modernize their Criminal Code to cover new types of crime (i.e., computer) as well as to revise the sentencing structure.
In Kyrgyzstan, the RLA works with local legal and law enforcement counterparts on transnational crime, particularly money laundering and trafficking in narcotics and humans. The RLA is also providing material and expert support to the Kyrgyz with the adoption of a new Criminal Procedure Code that complies with the country's binding legal obligations as a party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as in modernizing the Prosecutors Training Center, including mentoring a cadre of local expert trainers on conducting case-based, interactive instruction on drug trafficking, forensic evidence, ethics and domestic violence. RLA assistance was instrumental in the crafting of a draft Criminal Procedure Code that complies with Kyrgyzstan's obligations under the ICCPR, which we anticipate will be presented to Parliament not long after the Presidential elections.
In Moldova, the RLA furnishes advice and support to the Superior Council of Prosecutors and Procuracy on selected topics related to management of the prosecutorial function, including ethics, standards for hiring and advancement. Recently, a group of senior Moldovan prosecutor managers completed a program for senior managers at the Justice Department's National Advocacy Center. The RLA will support these Moldovan prosecutors as they begin to institute some of the modern management practices discussed with their U.S. counterparts. Integral to these efforts is OPDAT's support for a sustainable continuing legal education program at the National Institute of Justice – Moldova's legal training center – where the RLA helps to conduct practical, case-based instruction for new and experienced judges and prosecutors in priority areas of criminal law and procedure. The RLA is also working closely with the Prosecutor's Office to improve its capacity to successfully investigate and prosecute such priority crimes as corruption, fraud and human trafficking, including introducing the concepts of plea bargaining and a task force approach.
In Russia, two OPDAT RLAs work with Russian counterparts on projects in the areas of criminal procedure and trial advocacy training, money laundering and financial crime, organized crime, environmental crime, trafficking in persons, asset forfeiture and cybercrime. The RLAs work with Russian prosecutors to improve their ability to try complex, transnational criminal cases. RLA efforts resulted in the enactment of cooperating witness legislation that has and will continue to enhance the Russians' capacity to complex crime. The RLAs have cooperated with the Government of Russia on legislation to regulate the use cooperating witness and informants. Since the law's adoption in 2009, Russian prosecutors have used this law in more than 700 cases. In addition to enhancing Russia's capacity to combat crime, the RLAs also work to promote the rule of law. For example, OPDAT worked closely with NGOs and the Duma to support the passage of amendments to the law on pretrial detention. These amendments restrict the scope of pretrial detention and make it more difficult for corrupt law enforcement officials to extort bribes by threatening subjects with incarceration. OPDAT's Russia program has also worked to expand alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including private arbitration and mediation. ADR serves as a legitimate alternative to a court system often perceived as corrupt and provides an incentive to the state to improve the state court system. In collaboration with DOJ's Anti-Trust Division and the Federal Trade Commission, OPDAT is supporting Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service in the implementation of new legislation on the investigation and prosecution of illegal cartels and important reforms in the government procurement area.
In Ukraine, OPDAT's RLAs provide assistance to Ukrainian legal and law enforcement counterparts primarily on criminal procedure as well as on combating such transnational crimes as human trafficking and money laundering. The RLAs' efforts have resulted in the production of a modern draft Criminal Procedure Code replacing the current CPC which dates back to the 1960's. The Ukrainian Government submitted it for review by the Council of Europe (COE) to ensure that it is consistent with Ukraine's binding obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The draft Code is expected to be submitted to Parliament by the end of the year. Finally, a specialized Anti-Corruption RLA provides timely and direct assistance to the Ukrainians in complying with their prevention and enforcement commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption and other international anti-corruption instruments.