A training programme for Ukrainian judges set to conduct trials for war crimes has begun as part of UK efforts to secure justice for the country’s citizens.
More than 90 judges will undergo the UK funded sessions, which are being held in the region under the supervision of Sir Howard Morrison KC, a former Judge at the International Criminal Court. Sir Howard was appointed by the former Attorney General in March to act as an independent advisor to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, now Andriy Kostin, as part of a wider package of support for the war-torn country.
Attorney General Victoria Prentis KC said:
Ukraine is navigating a horrifying catalogue of war crimes, with 50,000 cases recorded so far – the UK is committed to helping them secure justice.
The training for judges is an important step in making sure those who are committing unthinkable atrocities against innocent civilians are held to account.
We are throwing the full force of our support – including some of the UK’s finest legal minds – to make sure that happens.
The training is just one part of a £2.5m justice and accountability package of UK assistance directly to Ukraine. In May, the UK, the US and EU, established the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group to directly support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine – to assist in streamlining coordination, avoiding duplication, and providing advice and practical assistance.
The package also includes the deployment of Mobile Justice Teams to the scene of potential war crimes, forensic evidence gathering and support from UK experts in sexual violence in conflict.
A further £1million was pledged in funding for the International Criminal Court, whose work includes an investigation into the brutalities being committed by Russian forces as the ongoing conflict continues.
Sir Howard Morrison KC said:
The first sessions have now taken place, they had a focus on international and humanitarian law with an emphasis on trying war crimes cases and producing a full judgment in an international court of law.
The judges are of course very experienced in Ukrainian domestic law, but many have never tried war crimes before, and it is specialised business.
Andriy Kostin is doing an excellent job and faces a task almost unparalleled in modern history as he prepares to take the Russian forces responsible for these abhorrent crimes to trial during a live conflict.
At the G7 justice ministers meeting in Germany this month, the UK co-signed the Berlin declaration in a pledge of ‘unwavering solidarity to Ukraine”.