IBAHRI Director joins Ukraine government’s Legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine

Thursday 7 April 2022

The government of Ukraine has announced the formation of the Legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine to support the country’s authorities in delivering justice for victims of any international crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. The Task Force includes Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Lord David Neuberger of Abbotsbury and Amal Clooney, the latter two being the Chair and Special Advisor to the Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom. The IBAHRI is Secretariat to the High Level Panel.

Baroness Kennedy QC said: ‘It is an honour to be of service to the government of Ukraine and its people. The Task Force is determined to ensure that no impunity is granted for the blatant violations of international law committed by Russia. It is crucial that perpetrators are brought to justice, and victims receive the reparations they deserve. There can be no peace without justice.’

Lord Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom commented: ‘It is a privilege to be working with my distinguished colleagues, as a member of the Legal Task Force on Accountability, to stand by the Ukrainian Government in its pursuit of justice for any crimes committed by the Russian forces. We must try and ensure that the Rule of Law prevails and that those responsible for any crimes suffered by the Ukrainian people are made accountable.’

Amal Clooney added: ‘I am honoured to have been asked by the government of Ukraine to be a member of their legal task force on accountability. Ukrainians deserve to see perpetrators held to account and to recover compensation for the horrific abuses they are suffering. I am privileged to be working alongside such a distinguished group of lawyers and experts in this endeavour to ensure that nobody is above the law and that survivors will have their day in court.’

The Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, commented: ‘We are grateful to this esteemed group for their support for Ukraine. Their assistance and guidance will be invaluable in the process of securing justice for Ukrainian victims and rebuilding our state.’

Other members of the Task Force include Nikhil V Gore, Partner, Covington & Burling, Washington, DC; Richard Hermer QC, barrister, Matrix Chambers, London; Emma Lindsay, partner, Withers, New York; Tim Otty QC, barrister, Blackstone Chambers, London; Luke Vidal, partner, Sygna Partners, Paris; and Professor Philippa Webb, Professor of Public International Law at King’s College London and a barrister at Twenty Essex chambers.

The full statement released by the government of Ukraine can be read below with the Ukrainian text available here.

‘The government of Ukraine announces the formation of a legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine to support Ukraine in delivering justice for victims of international crimes committed by Russia in our country.

‘The task force is comprised of some of the world’s leading international human rights lawyers: Amal Clooney, Richard Hermer QC, Tim Otty QC, Philippa Webb, Baroness Helena Kennedy, who also heads the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and Lord Neuberger, the former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

‘The task force will also include legal experts from U.S. firm Covington & Burling LLP, led by Nikhil Gore, the French firm Sygna Partners, led by Luke Vidal, as well as the Withers firm, led by Emma Lindsay. Each of these firms is already representing Ukraine, including at the International Court of Justice.

‘The task force will be supported by leading academics in the field of international humanitarian law including Professor Marko Milanovic (University of Nottingham) and Professor Andrew Clapham (Graduate Institute, Geneva) as well as the Centre for International Governance and Dispute Resolution at King’s College London, the Clooney Foundation for Justice and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

‘All members of the task force and the supporting lawyers and academics will carry out their work on a pro bono basis.

‘The remit of the task force will encompass advice on proposals for accountability including through the United Nations and regional organisations; advice and potential representation relating to civil and criminal cases (including under universal jurisdiction laws) to secure accountability and reparations in national jurisdictions; and strategic guidance on Ukraine’s cooperation with the International Criminal Court.

‘Microsoft Corporation will serve as the technology partner to the task force and will provide technological assistance free of charge to help with securing, analysing and sharing evidence of international crimes with appropriate authorities.’


Notes to the Editor

  1. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous and financially independent entity, working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  2. Find the IBAHRI (@IBAHRI) on social media here:
  3. 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.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

  4. Find the IBA (@IBAnews) on social media here:

For further information, please contact: the IBA Human Rights Institute at IBAHRI@int-bar.org

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