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War in Ukraine exposes unpreparedness of judicial system

by CIUS May 12, 2023 5:50 AM 1 min read
The Volovetskyi District Court in western Zakarpattia Oblast sentenced three teenagers for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl to two years of probation and a fine in March 2023, causing a public outcry and a nationwide scandal. (Courtesy)
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Editor's Note: The Kyiv Independent is exclusively re-publishing an article prepared by Forum for Ukrainian Studies, a research publication for experts, practitioners, and academics to discuss, explore, reflect upon, develop, and transform international understanding of contemporary affairs in Ukraine. This platform is run by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) of the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada).

It is no surprise that neither the Ukrainian population nor the state were fully prepared for a war on such a scale. Wars the like of what is happening in Ukraine haven’t occurred in Europe since WW II. As a result, neither the law nor state institutions were ready to deal with the new challenges that Russia’s full-scale invasion brought with itself. This is particularly true for the judicial system, which has had to adapt on the go and has faced unprecedented dilemmas. Sometimes urgent answers have been required from judges, and if resolved poorly, death or serious harm could result for them or others.

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