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Draft Prosecutorial Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct

Prosecutorial Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct

Prosecution Service has special place in the structure of legal State as a sole system of bodies, intended to ensure legality, to protect rights and freedoms of a man and a citizen and interests of the State in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine „On Prosecutor’s Office”.


The aim of the Code consists in defying basic moral and ethical norms and principles, which prosecutors and investigators should follow, and also employees of scientific, educational and other establishments of the Prosecution Service, who have class or military ranks (further, prosecutors and investigators) while performing their official duties and in everyday life, realizing that the actions of each prosecutor and investigator form public opinion on the Prosecution Service.


Public character of the activity of a prosecutor and investigator and constant attention paid to them by society impose special obligations on the official and everyday conduct that they have to take over voluntary while entering the position and to execute them constantly.    
Chapter I
Article 1. Tasks and Scope of Application of the Code

Provisions of the Code shall be obligatory for every prosecutor and investigator and shall assist in the conscientious, high-quality and effective performing of professional duties laid on them, strengthening of reputation, increase of prestige, and also raising of public confidence in the prosecution service.


The Code is aimed:
1) to secure the effective performance by prosecutors of their professional duties on the basis of legality, moral norms and considerable culture;
2) to prevent corruption in the Prosecution Service;
3) to enhance public confidence and to increase prestige of the Prosecution Service;
4) to form positive public opinion in relation to the activity of the Prosecution Service;
5) to create conditions of developing universal moral and ethical values at the prosecution service employees, and to form sense of devotion to the matter of establishment of legality.
The requirements of the Code shall be obligatory for the prosecutors from the moment of acquaintance with its provisions; the certification in writing about this is made in the personal records.
Article 2. Ukrainian Legislation on Regulation of Conduct of a Prosecutor
A prosecutor shall follow in his/her professional activity the Constitution of Ukraine, the Laws of Ukraine „On Prosecutor’s Office”, „On Public Service”, „Disciplinary Statute of the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine”, orders of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, international standards of conduct of lawyers in general, and of prosecutors, in particular, by other legislative acts, and also the rules of conduct, set forth by this Code.
Article 3. Basic Ethical Principles of Conduct of a Prosecutor
Professional conduct of a prosecutor is based on the generally recognized moral and ethical principles:
- rule of law;
- humanism;
- justice;
- equality of every citizen before law;
- democracy;
- legality;
- independence;
- objectivity;
- impartiality;
- honesty.
Article 4. Moral Requirements to a Prosecutor

While performing his/her professional duties a prosecutor shall be obliged:

1) to treat a men as the highest value;

2) to respect and protect rights, freedoms and dignity of the citizens in accordance with the domestic and international legal standards and moral universal principles;

3) to understand deeply the social value of his/her role, level of responsibility before the society and the State for securing legal protection of citizens;

4) to use reasonably and humanely the rights, given in accordance with principles of justice;

5) to improve constantly professional skills, knowledge of law, to raise general culture, to learn constructively national and foreign experience that is needed on service.


Chapter IІ
Article 5. Maintenance of Professional Honour and Dignity

A prosecutor shall maintain honour and dignity of his/her profession, his/her professional competence at the appropriate level; correspond constantly to the highest ethical and aesthetical requirements in his/her activity; discharge conscientiously his/her official duties.


In case of dissemination of false information, which humiliates honour, dignity and business reputation of a prosecutor, the latter shall have the right to appeal to court with the appropriate request for protection of his/her rights.


Article 6. Independence and Self-dependence


While performing his/her official duties a prosecutor shall be independent; this envisages his/her freedom from any influence, pressure or interference in the activity. With the purpose to observe this principle a prosecutor shall counteract actively any attempts to infringe his/her independence.


While taking concrete decisions a prosecutor shall be self-dependent and independent:
– from illegal influence with the purpose to prevent from discharging official duties or to achieve taking of illegal decision from the side of the representatives of other authorities, public associations, business structures and individuals;
– to dissociate from any mercenary and private interests, external and political influence, pressure from the side of public and mass media;
– to ignore requirements and recommendations of unaccredited persons in relation to resolution of matters and materials, and to take measures without any such restriction, in accordance with established procedure in order to bring guilty persons to responsibility;
– to keep from any acts or conduct that would prevent from proper discharge of powers and were not compatible with prosecutor’s position;
– to follow the requirements of law, rules of professional ethics and personal opinion only.
Article 7. Justice, Impartiality and Objectivity
A prosecutor shall operate within the limits of his/her powers, established by law, in a just, impartial and objective way:
– shall not continue criminal prosecution, if the investigation points at groundlessness or unlawfulness of prosecution;
– shall take into account all the circumstances in the matter, including those concerning a suspect (accused person, defendant or convict), regardless of the fact whether they are proofs of guilt or guiltlessness of the latter;
– shall be politically impartial, shall eliminate possibility of any influence or pressure on his/her professional activity from the side of local and self-government authorities, officials, and also of decisions, programs and actions of political parties other public associations or their bodies;
- shall not express in public his/her own position on any questions of current policy, in order not to put in question his/her impartiality;
– shall keep himself/herself from nominating to People’s Deputy of Ukraine when serving at the Prosecution Service.
Article 8. Non-admission of Discrimination
A prosecutor shall protect the principle of equality of all citizens before law and shall not allow any manifestations of discrimination by race, color of skin, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnic and social origin, status, place of residence, by language or other characteristics.
Article 9. Non-admission of Corruption Manifestations
A prosecutor shall follow strictly the restrictions and interdictions envisaged by anticorruption legislation, shall not allow any manifestations of corruption:
 - shall not use any information revealed while discharging professional duties in his/her personal interests, interests of his/her family or other persons ;  
 - shall not assist natural person or legal entity, by using his/her official position, when they carry out their business or other activity for the purpose of obtaining material and other welfare, services, privileges and other advantages for himself/herself and his/her relatives or other persons;
 - shall not use state property, other means of organizational and technical and other provision in personal interests, and also in other goals not relating to discharging of professional duties;
 - shall not accept any gifts , rewards, shall not gain any benefit, encouragement or hospitality relating to discharge of professional duties, and also from persons, who may compromise honesty, justice and impartiality of a prosecutor;
 - shall prevent conflicts between personal and official interests, and in the case where a situation appears, when personal interest prevents from discharging of official duties, he/she shall report directly about it to the director for settlement of conflict of interests.
Chapter IІІ
Article 10. Observance of the Principle of Legality, Independence of Judges, Equality of Natural Persons and Legal Entities before Law and Court

While performing his/her powers in legal proceedings a prosecutor shall be obliged to take in proper time measures within his/her competence in order to eliminate breaches of law, whoever makes them, following the principles of law, independence of judges, equality of natural persons and legal entities before law and court.


In the course of judicial consideration of the matters a prosecutor shall keep anyway from influencing a sentence or a court’s decision by nonprocedural means, including by way of making statements relating to factual circumstances of the matter and before legal assessment of evidence before termination of consideration of matters.
Article 11. Observance of Principle of Presumption of Innocence
In all spheres of prosecutorial and investigation activity a prosecutor shall be obliged to follow the principle of innocence.
Article 12. Non-admission of Actions Humiliating Human Dignity
A prosecutor shall not commit, instigate to or behave tolerantly to any action relating to torture, other violent or humiliating human dignity treatment.
Article 13. Non-admission to Use Illegally Obtained Evidence
A prosecutor shall not submit to court the evidence obtained from sources or by methods that contradict law. In the case of establishment of such facts, necessary measures shall be taken in order to bring a person, who obtained and submitted such evidence, to responsibility envisaged by law.
Article 14. Securing Confidentiality of Information

A prosecutor shall be obliged to secure confidentiality of information obtained in the course of discharging professional duties, except for those cases, where the right or duty to disclose such information is envisaged by law.


Special attention shall have to be paid to securing secret in business and bank activity, where a disclosure of such secret may inflict considerable material losses to the subject of enterprise.  


A prosecutor shall keep from disclosing beforehand his/her intentions concerning the initiation of criminal matters, choosing of preventive measures and other important investigative actions and supervisory decisions, except for where a need of acting so is caused by thought of tactical nature.
Article 15. Securing of Protection of Victims and Witnesses’ Interests
In the course of judicial process, in cases and in the order envisaged by law, a prosecutor shall protect legal interests of victims and witnesses:
– to provide awareness of the latter about their rights, including the right to appeal court’s decision;
– if needed, to take measures envisaged by legislation in force for protection and safety of their lives and the lives of their relatives;
- to use exhaustive measures, envisaged by law, in relation to compensation of damage inflicted to victims by a crime.
Chapter IV
Article 16. Non-admission of Conduct Damaging Reputation
A prosecutor shall not have the right to use his/her position in personal interests or in interests of other persons. He/she shall be obliged to keep from conduct, actions and statements that may damage his/her reputation, and also may compromise independence, consistency and justice of the Prosecution Service.
Article 17. Restriction of Participation of a Prosecutor in Political Activity and in relation to Second Employment
A prosecutor shall not be a member of any political party, association and movements, shall not participate in any political activity, shall not combine discharging his/her official duties with other activity, except for scientific, artistic and teaching activity.
Article 18. Membership in Professional Associations and Unions
A prosecutor shall have a right to establish or enter professional associations and unions, which represent and protect his/her interests and rights.
Article 19. Attitude toward Religion
Employees of the prosecution service shall have a right, by using freedom of belief, set forth by the Constitution of Ukraine, to determine freely his/her attitude toward religious activity, to take part in the activity of religious associations, preventing from their interference in his/her official matters.
Chapter V
Article 20. Relations with Executive and Legislative Power

A prosecutor shall carry out supervision over legality of decisions taken by the executive and legislative authorities.


A prosecutor shall not interfere in the activity of the executive, legislative and local self-government authorities, except for cases, where their decisions or actions contradict law and need measures of prosecutorial reaction to be taken.


A prosecutor shall co-operate with them while discharging his/her official duties and taking measures on strengthening of law and order, if it does not contradict the principle of his/her independence.
A prosecutor shall avoid memberships in commissions, committees and other college authorities, established by the executive and local self-government authorities.
Article 21. Relations with Law-Enforcement Bodies


In relations with employees of other law-enforcement bodies of Ukraine a prosecutor shall be obliged to manifest exactingness and fidelity to principle based on requirements of law.

Article 22. Relations with Judges


In view of just and objective legal proceedings a prosecutor shall be obliged to act within the limits of procedural law, to be respectful to judges, to refrain in and out of judicial sitting from statements in relation to their professionalism, independence and justice.


A prosecutor shall appraise acts of judges and legality of made decisions only within the limits and in the order set by the procedural law, under respective reaction to unjust decisions.
Article 23. Relations between a Prosecutor and Other Participants of Legal Proceedings


In relations with other participants of legal proceedings in public legal process a prosecutor shall follow formal business style, to show fidelity to principle and self-control.


A prosecutor shall not have the right to set aside the conduct of other participants of process, including the Chairman of a judicial sitting, which he/she believes to contradict the law, to violate rights and freedoms of citizens. He/she shall react to such manifestations in the order envisaged by law on judicial procedure.   


A prosecutor-participant of the process shall refrain from unofficial contacts during consideration of the matter with judges, advocates (defenders) on one or another commitment in relation to the results of consideration.


At the same time a prosecutor shall be an example of respect towards the court and justice, shall demonstrate this by way of his/her conduct at judicial process.

Article 24. Relations with Mass Media


A prosecutor shall be respectful to the activity of mass media in relation to covering of work of the prosecution service, and also shall assist in obtaining information in the order established by law.


He/she shall refrain from official statements, comments and assessment on issues, where their consideration is out of his/her competence. He/she shall follow the established rules of public addresses and providing official and confidential information.


Official (written and oral) addresses of a prosecutor in mass media shall be precise, verified, shall take into account the fact that they may be considered to be an official opinion of the prosecution service.

Article 25. International Cooperation


International cooperation between prosecutors shall be performed within the scope of legislation in force, on the basis of international agreements in compliance with principles of equality, mutual understanding and mutual interests, conscientious discharging of duties and respect for human rights, and shall be aimed at establishment of cooperation with prosecutors of other States and extend of existing relations.

Article 26. Relationship between Personnel of the Prosecutor’s Office


Relations between prosecutors in labour groups shall be based on the grounds of friendly partnership, mutual respect and mutual assistance.


In relationship prosecutors shall avoid any manifestations of unkind treatment to each other because of careerist or other personal opinion, and shall join their efforts to fulfill the tasks set for the Prosecution Service.


Manifestations of sound public critics in relation to defaults in work shall be united with mutual respect, tolerance, moderation, politeness. Facts of designing, spreading of gossip in relation to conduct of colleagues are inadmissible.
Article 27. Ethical Bases of Treating Subordinate Employees by Directors of the Prosecution Service

In relations with subordinate persons, the directors shall unite fidelity to principle and exactingness with benevolent treatment towards them, shall exclude rudeness, humiliation of human dignity.


The directors shall assist subordinate persons in creative performing of their functional duties, shall not restrict without need their initiative, shall show respect to legal positions presented by them, and shall not impose their own opinion by coercive methods.
Article 28. Mutual Relations with Citizens

While protecting the rights and legal interests of the citizens, a prosecutor shall examine thoroughly their problems in compliance with requirements of law, principles of justice and humaneness, to avoid manifestations of bureaucracy, formalism, heartless attitude toward needs of a person. Manifestations of scorn, swaggering, scornful attitude toward legal requests and requirements are impermissible.


In relations with citizens out of the duty a prosecutor shall be an example of respect to law and order, observance of standards of conduct in everyday life and in public places.
Article 29. Professional Development
A prosecutor shall improve constantly his/her educational level, professionalism, shall develop creative attitude toward his/her official duties and shall gain professional experience.
Chapter VІ
Article 30. Assessment of Observance of Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct Envisaged by the Code


Assessment of observance of rules of professional ethics and conduct of a prosecutor while discharging his/her official duties is given at attestation, at resolving of question concerning promotion on service, preparation of description or recommendations.


Article 31. Responsibility for Violation of the Code
Failure to observe by a prosecutor the rules of ethics and conduct established by the Code may be grounds for imposition of the following disciplinary measures:

  • obligation to stop conducting unethically;
  • obligation to compensate moral harm inflicted by the unethical conduct, by way of personal or public apology;
  • directing of informative letter about the fact of violation of prosecutorial ethics to subordinate prosecutors.

Article 32. Jurisdiction of Disputes in Relation to Application of the Code
The decision of the competent authority on violation of requirements of this Code by prosecutor, and application of sanctions towards him/her, may be appealed to the higher prosecutor or to the court. Existence of the decision of the higher prosecutor on appeal shall not prevent from appealing to the court.


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