[Adjudicating international crimes]: Ukrainian judges visiting the NetherlandsPublished 19 April 2023
A group of Ukrainian judges is visiting the Netherlands, as part of an international project that assists Ukrainian practitioners to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and report on international crimes. The judges, hosted by the Asser Institute and USAID, are in The Hague to exchange views with Dutch and international colleagues.
The study visit takes place in the context of the MATRA-Ukraine project ''Strengthening Ukraine’s Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute International Crimes", a joint initiative of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Global Rights Compliance. The project started in 2020 and is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Alongside supporting the Office of the Prosecutor General, the project delivers vital technical and strategic expertise to other criminal justice entities, such as judges and lawyers, civil society organisations and journalists.
It is not the first time that Ukrainian judges visit The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice. In November 2022, the MATRA-Ukraine project organised a conference, to hear Ukrainian perspectives on the main challenges in dealing with the ever-increasing international crimes Ukraine is confronted with. The conference brought together high-level (inter)national experts, from Ukraine and elsewhere, to exchange knowledge and experiences.
Topics of that exchange included: is the legal framework in place sufficient in terms of international crimes? What assistance do the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General and the Ukrainian investigative agencies need to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions? What is the role of civil society organisations in this context? Why is the critical monitoring of trials by academics, lawyers and journalists important? How should the judiciary in Ukraine be structured and resourced in order to hear international crimes cases? What form (if any) should international assistance to Ukrainian national authorities take?
MATRA-Ukraine project leader, and co-organiser of this week’s study visit Christophe Paulussen, said: “We hope that our work in the MATRA-Ukraine project will, in a very concrete manner, add to the important effort of making sure that perpetrators of international law will realise that the law is there and in play. We do so by assisting in identifying legal and more practical problems; by linking up experts from different backgrounds to facilitate coordination and cooperation, and by suggesting international law-compliant solutions on the way towards accountability.”
During their study visit, the Ukrainian judges will speak with (intern)national judges, practitioners and policymakers working at the International Criminal Court, Eurojust, the Dutch Council for the Judiciary, Supreme Court, Public Prosecution Service, the Municipality of The Hague, the Ukrainian Embassy in The Hague, the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice & Security and the Asser Institute.
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Strengthening Ukraine’s capacity to investigate and prosecute international crimes
The MATRA project ''Strengthening Ukraine’s Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute International Crimes" is a joint initiative of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Global Rights Compliance. Alongside supporting the Office of the Prosecutor General, the project delivers vital technical and strategic expertise to other criminal justice entities, such as judges and lawyers, civil society organisations and journalists. The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the MATRA (MAatschappelijke TRAnsformatie: social transformation) Programme and supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security.