The Asser Institute welcomes groups of Ukrainian investigators, prosecutors and judges

Published 20 November 2023

A group of Ukrainian judges will be hosted this week by the Asser Institute for exchange meetings and study visits. Last week, a cohort of Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors made their way to The Hague for a similar experience. During the course of these events, participants have the opportunity to visit several international organisations based in The Hague and to engage in exchange sessions with Dutch and international experts on international criminal law.

The exchange meetings and study visits are part of the MATRA-Ukraine project, a joint initiative of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Global Rights Compliance (GRC), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The objective of this project is to enhance the capacity of criminal justice actors and other experts in Ukraine to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate, monitor and report on international crimes, by providing them with technical and strategic expertise.

Fruitful exchanges at the headquarters of different international organisations

Various international organisations welcome the participants to facilitate the exchange of expertise relevant to the daily work carried out by Ukrainian investigators, prosecutors and judges. Participants from both groups have visited and will continue to do so different institutions, including but not restricted to Eurojust, the International Criminal Court, Europol, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, the International Commission on Missing Persons or the Netherlands Forensic Institute.

Numerous Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors have underscored the significance of these study visits. According to the former, these engagements have provided them with a deeper understanding of international initiatives aimed at ensuring accountability for international crimes committed in and against Ukraine. Such interactions consequently facilitate the enhancement of cooperation and the establishment of synergies between national authorities and international organisations actively working on the ground in Ukraine. 

National and international legal experts engage in discussions with participants

Different exchange meetings take place at the Asser Institute during these two weeks between the participants and Dutch and international experts in international law. These meetings focus on the areas where participants encounter the greatest challenges for their daily work and are led by experts from various institutions, such as the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service, The Hague District Court, Amnesty International or Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Some of the topics discussed include the protection of witnesses and victims, the different modes of liability under international law for international crimes, open-source investigation techniques, the drafting of judgments for international crimes cases, or the functioning of courts during occupation and the trials for collaborators.

Future projects

In the upcoming months, further initiatives falling within the scope of the MATRA-Ukraine project will be implemented. These encompass, among others, the implementation of trainings for Ukrainian defence lawyers, civil society organisations and journalists, as well as the provision of strategic advice to the Ukrainian judiciary and Office of the Prosecutor General.

Read more

Ukrainian investigators, prosecutors and judges to visit The Hague
In November, the Asser Institute will welcome two groups of Ukrainian investigators, prosecutors and judges for exchange meetings and study visits. The groups will meet with international legal experts and visit relevant organisations in The Hague to gain international legal expertise.

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. Read more.

Launch of the 'Benchbook on the adjudication of international crimes under Ukrainian domestic law'
In June 2023, Global Rights Compliance presented the 'Benchbook on the Adjudication of International Crimes under Ukrainian Domestic Law'. The Benchbook is a compilation of relevant international legal sources, including international treaties, judicial decisions and academic commentaries. By evaluating their applicability at the domestic level, the authors of the Benchbook aim to assist Ukrainian judges in the interpretation and application of the relevant domestic offenses. The Benchbook is available in English and Ukrainian. Read more.

First of its kind basic investigative standards for documenting international crimes in Ukraine
On 23 May, the EU day against impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Global Rights Compliance launched the ‘Basic Investigative Standards for Documenting International Crimes in Ukraine’ (BIS-Ukraine) - a unique toolkit aimed at supporting the work of civil society organisations, human rights defenders and other practitioners documenting international crimes in Ukraine. Read more.

Exchange meeting focused on conflict-related crimes against children in Ukraine
On Monday and Tuesday 7 and 8 June, an international exchange meeting took place with Ms Yuliia Usenko, the Head of the Department for the Protection of Children’s Rights from the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor-General, in The Hague. During the exchange meeting stakeholders discussed conflict-related crimes against children in Ukraine and strategies to enhance the protection and well-being of children affected by armed conflict. Read more.

Adjudicating international crimes: Ukrainian judges visiting the Netherlands
A group of Ukrainian judges visited the Netherlands, as part of the MATRA-Ukraine project. The judges, hosted by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and USAID, met with national and international judges, practitioners and policymakers. They visited, amongst others, the Dutch Bureau of the Council for the Judiciary, the Dutch Supreme Court, the International Criminal Court, Eurojust, the Ukrainian Embassy in The Hague, and the T.M.C. Asser Instituut. Read more.