Basic Investigative Standards for Documenting International Crimes in Ukraine (BIS-Ukraine)

The ‘Basic Investigative Standards for Documenting International Crimes in Ukraine’ (BIS-Ukraine) is a unique toolkit containing essential legal principles and techniques for civil society actors engaging with and documenting international crimes in Ukraine. The BIS-Ukraine is a series of products aimed at assisting civil society organisations, human rights defenders and other practitioners documenting international crimes in Ukraine.

 The BIS-Ukraine includes:

  • The BIS-Ukraine Manual, which draws on standards set out in the Ukrainian Criminal Code (‘CCU’) and Criminal Procedure Code; international human rights, humanitarian, and criminal law; and established international best practices related to the documentation of international crimes. It aims to ensure information and evidence is effectively collected, preserved and available for accountability processes.
  • The BIS-Ukraine Guides, which contain short, easily accessible handouts on the essential investigative rules, preparing for documentation, handling various types of evidence (physical, documentary, digital, audio-visual and OSINT/SOCINT), conflict-related sexual violence and survivor-centred principles for dealing with victims and witnesses. It serves as a quick refresher of the key standards contained in the BIS-Ukraine Manual.
  • The forthcoming BIS-KIT mobile app, a mobile companion for practitioners in Ukraine, containing practical investigative procedures and tips for identifying international crimes.


  • Six essential rules which should be at the forefront of all efforts to document international crimes.
  • An introduction to international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law.
  • The critical elements required to build international crimes cases, including the contextual elements; the elements of crimes relevant to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and the applicable modes of liability. Each section contains practical cues for practitioners and examples of evidence relevant to the Ukrainian context.
  • Practical steps necessary to prepare for the documentation of international crimes, including risk assessments.
  • Guidance on collecting and preserving information, including an overview of admissibility of evidence and practical steps to collect, store and handle physical (including crime scene analysis), documentary, digital (including taking videos and photographs) and OSINT information.
  • Survivor-centred principles for interacting with victims and witnesses, including principles relating to taking witness statements and interviews.
  • Advice on documenting conflict-related sexual violence (‘CRSV’) crimes, including identifying and classifying CRSV, understanding consent and coercion, linking perpetrators to acts of CRSV, and avoiding myths surrounding CRSV.

Download the BIS-Ukraine Manual in English and Ukrainian.

Download the BIS-Ukraine Guides in English and Ukrainian.

The BIS-Ukraine products are developed under the Asser Institute and Global Rights Compliance’s MATRA-Ukraine project “Strengthening Ukraine’s Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute International Crimes”, funded by The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.