Presentation MATRA-Ukraine project at book launch ICMP

Published 14 September 2023

Courtesy of ICMP

On 14 September 2023, Asser senior researcher and MATRA-Ukraine project leader Christophe Paulussen took part at a launch celebrating the book ‘A Country of Missing People: Securing Justice and Truth for Families of the Missing in Ukraine’, authored by Kevin Sullivan and published by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

Paulussen provided an update about the MATRA-Ukraine project, touching upon matters such as GRC’s ‘Basic Investigative Standards for the Investigation and Prosecution of International Crimes in Ukraine’, which was launched in Kyiv on Tuesday, the upcoming exchange meetings and study visits in The Hague for Ukrainian investigators, prosecutors and judges, as well as the finalisation of the fair trial indicators. This tool is aimed at laypeople such as CSOs and journalists and contains, among other things, a list of ‘indicators’, grounded in international legal standards, which could help monitors in their assessment of the fairness of the trials. Paulussen also presented a number of challenges, including the issue of donor coordination, the strong prosecutorial focus on individual crimes, outreach and communication, as well as evidence gathering. Linking the latter topic to the theme of the book launch, Paulussen noted: “Evidence gathering remains a huge task of course in an ongoing war. This is why ICMP’s Outreach Campaign to encourage families to report missing relatives, and a data collection campaign to facilitate DNA-based identifications and to support investigations, is so crucial. At this point, also because of the overwhelming number of cases, the focus of investigators and prosecutors is on criminal prosecution, so it’s important they also learn about the broader picture, this can also have legal consequences.”

The other members of the panel, moderated by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, were Kevin Sullivan, Oleksandr Tomashchuk of the Ukrainians in the Netherlands Foundation and ICMP’s Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser. Opening remarks were provided by ICMP Chairperson Ambassador Knut Vollebaek and Anatolii Solovei, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Ukraine in the Netherlands.

See here for ICMP’s press release.