IBA and Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announce signing of Memorandum of Understanding

Thursday 27 October 2022

The International Bar Association (IBA) and the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) of Ukraine have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation to ensure accountability for war crimes and other international crimes including the crime of aggression, genocide and conflict-related sexual violence. Signed by IBA President Sternford Moyo, IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis and Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Andriy Kostin, the MOU came into effect on 20 October 2022 and outlines the following areas for cooperation:

  • Access and use of photo and video files as potential evidence of international crimes committed in Ukraine, collected through the mobile application eyeWitness to Atrocities
  • Expert support on international crimes, including development and implementation of effective investigative strategies (i.e. on conflict-related sexual violence);
  • Increase of theoretical and practical capacity of prosecutors to ensure justice and accountability in line with international standards with due regard to the right to fair trial;
  • Strengthen existing cooperation modalities with the International Criminal Court in accordance with the principle of complementarity;
  • Advocate creation of the Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression to bring to justice the highest political and military leadership of the Russian Federation;
  • Expert assistance to Ukraine’s Interagency Task Force on Asset Freezing coordinating search, seizure and confiscation of assets of persons directly or indirectly involved in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine; and 
  • Undertake efforts in collaboration with international partners for establishment of an international Compensation Mechanism aimed to secure full and effective reparation for the harm suffered by Ukraine and Ukrainian people

The OPG is a leading institution investigating international crimes and co-ordinating efforts for effective documentation of human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the course of an on-going armed conflict in Ukraine. 

The OPG continues to closely cooperate with relevant international partners and institutions in order to secure justice and accountability for international crimes committed in the course of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Mr Kostin said: ‘Reports of alleged war crimes, and related human rights violations, during the ongoing Russian invasion are on the increase, while investigating and prosecuting such crimes is incredibly challenging. The Prosecutor General's Office welcomes the specialised knowledge and wealth of experience the IBA can bring, particularly in the fields of international humanitarian and criminal law.’

Mr Moyo said: ‘The signing of this agreement formalises the IBA’s support for Ukraine in the administration of justice and I am certain that the IBA’s expertise will strengthen Ukraine in enhancing its administration of justice and ensuring accountability for crimes against humanity. With guidance from the IBA’s Executive Director, an expert in international criminal justice, the full support of the IBA is committed to Mr Kostin and his office in their endeavours.’ 

In September 2022, during a visit to Ukraine, Dr Ellis met with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General to discuss the provision of practical assistance and cooperation with the global legal community.

Dr Ellis stated: ‘I am proud to announce this MOU with the Prosecutor General's Office outlining the ways in which the IBA will support routes to justice for the Ukrainian people. Both the IBA and the PGO share the aim of investigating and prosecuting crimes of aggression, war crimes and conflict-related sexual violence wherever they may have occurred over the course of this war instigated by Russia. Sustained collaboration and support are vital for holding the perpetrators of such crimes accountable, and I applaud Andriy Kostin for his unwavering focus, determination and leadership to ensure that trials will be held in line with international fair trial standards.’

The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.  

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