Discussion on the accountability avenues for the prosecution of atrocity crimes in Ukraine

Date Range
Event Sponsor
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Encina Commons
615 Crothers Way, Stanford, CA 94305

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale aggression against Ukraine. Almost since the first days of Russia’s new wave of aggression, numerous reports of the alleged atrocity crimes began to mount. The world’s attention has been captivated by the horrors of the unfolding events, the scale of the country’s destruction and the ensuing allegations of the commission of mass atrocity crimes, especially in the areas under Russian control and in the deoccupied areas of Ukraine. While the war was raging in Ukraine, the thirst for justice very quickly became a key leitmotif in the speeches of Ukrainian senior politicians, reports of Ukrainian civil society and journalists, and stories of survivors. What followed was unprecedented support from the US, EU, and UK that was aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s national capacity building, especially in the areas of the domestic prosecution and adjudication of atrocity crimes. One and a half years into the large-scale war, it is time to take a step back to look into what has been achieved so far and what should be the next steps on the long road to justice which lies ahead for Ukraine. It is worth taking some time to pause and ponder about the lessons that Ukraine’s painful experience presents to the world with respect to accountability, the fight against impunity and the prevention of mass atrocities. Reflecting on this, the speakers will discuss, among others, the following issues:

  • Domestic prosecution and adjudication of war crimes, the crime of aggression and genocide: Why does it matter how to qualify atrocity crimes in Ukraine?
  • Interaction and cooperation of different stakeholders involved in the investigation and prosecution of atrocity crimes in Ukraine. Too many cooks in the kitchen or collective synergies in advancing the accountability agenda for atrocity crimes?
  • How to make the best use of international advisory & legal assistance? Pros and contras on the deployment of various international advisory missions to Ukraine with overlapping mandates.
  • Are we witnessing the shrinking space for non-governmental organizations involved in the atrocity crimes documentation work?
  • How to integrate a victim-centered approach to justice in the Ukrainian legal system and what accountability avenues are best suited to provide redress for victims of atrocity crimes?

Roman Avramenko, Executive Director, Truth Hounds NGO

Antonia David, Legal Program Manager, The Docket, Clooney Foundation for Justice

Dmytro Koval, Legal Director, Truth Hounds NGO

Svitlana Valko, Head of the Board, Truth Hounds NGO