Government of Ukraine Announces the Creation of a Legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine

Date: 29 March 2022

The government of Ukraine today announced 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 Ukraine.

The full statement released by the government of Ukraine is available below and can be accessed here. Biographies of the Task Force members are included below.

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."

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 government of Ukraine today 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 and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC of Doughty Street Chambers, Richard Hermer QC, Tim Otty QC, Philippa Webb, 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.

Biographies of Members of the Panel

A picture containing person

Description automatically generated

Amal Clooney is an award-winning barrister at Doughty Street Chambers who specializes in international law and human rights and has appeared in cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Amal frequently represents victims of mass atrocities, including genocide and sexual violence, as well as political prisoners in cases involving freedom of expression and fair-trial rights. She has acted in many landmark human rights cases including the world’s first trial in which an ISIS member was convicted of committing genocide against Yazidis and the first case alleging complicity in crimes against humanity by a company that funded the terror group. She is a Special Adviser to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Karim Khan QC, on Darfur and represented over 100 victims of crimes against humanity in Darfur in a trial before the ICC.  She is a member of the UK government’s team of experts on preventing sexual violence in conflict and the UK Attorney General’s panel of experts on public international law and served as deputy chair of a panel of legal experts on media freedom chaired by former UK Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger. Amal is the co-author of The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law (OUP 2020 with P Webb). She is a visiting Professor at Columbia Law School and co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which aims to advance justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world.


Richard Hermer

Richard Hermer QC, barrister at Matrix Chambers. Richard’s practice spans public and private law litigation within both the domestic and international spheres. He has been instructed in many of the most high profile cases heard by the English Courts over the past decade. He has been involved in many of the major claims emanating from the Iraq conflict, Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary renditions and the United Nations anti-terrorism measures. Richard has also been instructed in cases concerning the application of sovereign immunity as well as litigation arising out of colonial legacies. He regularly advises on a wide range of PIL issues including international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Richard was called to the Bar in 1993 and took silk in 2009 and is recognised in the major legal directories as a leading practitioner in all his practice areas.


Helena Kennedy QC | Doughty Street Chambers

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. She is widely regarded as one of the leading criminal and public law practitioners in the U.K., representing defendants in many landmark cases in the English courts. She has acted in many of the prominent cases of the last 40 years, including the Brighton Bombing Trial, Guildford Four Appeal, the bombing of the Israeli Embassy, the abduction of Baby Abbie Humphries and a number of key domestic violence cases. Baroness Kennedy sits on the House of Lords Committee on Justice and Home Affairs. She formerly sat on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, and formerly chaired the British Council. She is President of JUSTICE, a leading all-party human rights and law reform organisation in the U.K. Baroness Kennedy is the Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and she was the driving force behind the establishment of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford University. Baroness Kennedys publications include, Eve Was Framed: Women and British Justice, Just Law: The Changing Face of Justice and Why It Matters to Us All and Misjustice: How British Law is Failing Women.


Lord David Neuberger QC, barrister, Judge and former President of the UK Supreme Court. Lord Neuberger currently practises as an arbitrator from One Essex Court in the Temple, London. Lord Neuberger graduated as a scientist and spent three years as an investment banker, he became a barrister in 1975, and in 1987 was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1996, he was appointed a High Court Judge, in the Chancery Division. In 2004, he was promoted to the Court of Appeal, and in 2007 he became a Law Lord. In 2009, he was appointed Master of the Rolls. Since 2010, Lord Neuberger has been a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal; in January 2018, he became a Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court. Lord Neuberger is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, and an honorary member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He is President of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and of the Academy of Experts. He also serves on a number of charitable boards and ethics committees.


Tim Otty QC

Tim Otty QC, barrister at Blackstone Chambers, is widely recognized as a leading practitioner in public international law, constitutional law, sanctions law and human rights law. He is also the United Kingdom’s Representative on the European Commission for Democracy through Law, (the “Venice Commission”). He was appointed Queens Counsel in 2006 and has wide experience as Leading Counsel at all levels of United Kingdom courts, other Commonwealth domestic courts, and a range of international courts and tribunals. He has appeared in more than 50 cases at the European Court of Human Rights and has also acted in an advisory capacity to United Nations office holders. Among his most significant cases are successful challenges to the death penalty in Turkey leading to abolition in that country, to the denial of habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, to the restriction of fair trial rights in the War on Terror, and a series of disputes relating to economic sanctions, recognition of foreign Heads of State and control of foreign state assets and questions of sovereign immunity. He has also appeared in leading cases at the European Court of Human Rights concerned with armed conflict in Turkey, Iraq, and Chechnya. In addition to his work at the Bar he has been a visiting fellow or lecturer at the London School of Economics and Oxford University, and is currently a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and Notre Dame University in the United States. He has carried out judicial and rule of law training in Croatia, the West Bank, Serbia, and Turkey and has acted as an international trial observer in Georgia, Greece, Serbia, and Turkey. He has been called to the Bar of the United Kingdom, the Bar of Belize, the Bar of the British Virgin Islands, the Bar of Gibraltar (ad hoc), and the Bar of Ireland.


Professor Philippa Webb - Twenty Essex

Professor Philippa Webb, Professor of Public International Law at King’s College London and a barrister at Twenty Essex chambers. She is a specialist in public international law and represents states, companies, organisations and individuals in domestic and international courts, including the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and the UK Supreme Court.  She has been described as "the foremost expert on state immunity"  and is a leading scholar on international dispute settlement and  human rights (including the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and the prohibition of genocide and modern slavery). She is the founding co-director of the Centre on International Governance and Dispute Resolution at King’s College London and a member of the Public International Law Advisory Panel of the British Institute of International & Comparative Law. Philippa has held positions in the Presidency of the International Court of Justice, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court and in United Nations Headquarters. Her publications include The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law (OUP 2020, with A Clooney), Oppenheim’s International Law: United Nations (2017, with R Higgins, D Akande, S Sivakumaran and J Sloan), and The Law of State Immunity (2015, with H Fox).


A person wearing a suit and tie

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Nikhil V. Gore Partner, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington D.C.  Nikhil handles cross-border disputes, and domestic and international investigations and enforcement actions, for sovereign, financial services, and corporate clients.  He acts in international arbitration and investment cases, including on behalf of Ukrainian parties in Russia- and Crimea-related disputes, and he is a member of the Covington team that represented Ukraine in Case Concerning the Detention of Three Ukrainian Naval Vessels, ITLOS Case No. 26, and Ukraine v. Russia (UNCLOS), PCA Case No. 2017-06.  Nikhil also has substantial experience with financial services and financial crime investigation and enforcement matters.


A person in a suit and tie

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Luke Vidal, Partner, Sygna Partners, Paris. Luke joined Sygna Partners in 2006 and became a partner in 2011. Luke co-heads the International Litigation and Arbitration division of the firm, advising and representing States, corporations, organisations and individuals before international and European courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Justice. He has been instructed in cases concerning the prevention of genocide, the application of international sanctions, the determination of international boundaries, and litigations regarding free trade and cross-border investments. His expertise also spans to domestic litigations, notably in the field of economic and competition regulations as well as human rights and criminal law. Luke is notably heading some of the main pro bono activities of Sygna Partners, assisting victims of crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism.


Emma Lindsay

Emma Lindsay, Partner, Withers, New York. Emma leads the firm’s international arbitration and public international law teams in the United States. As part of her international practice, Emma represents and advises states, corporations, individuals, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations on public international law matters including the negotiation, interpretation and application of treaties, sovereignty over territory, land and maritime boundaries, sanctions, state immunity, international investment law, international human rights law and the law of the sea. She has particular expertise in matters before the International Court of Justice. She also appears in U.S. courts in international litigation matters involving the application of international law through the U.S. Constitution, the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Federal Arbitration Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Emma has an active pro bono practice encompassing proceedings before the United States Supreme Court, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) and various United Nations bodies.