Ukrainian Prosecutors: War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide

This week, Abigail’s report on training Ukrainian prosecutors to prepare to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide was presented to members of the international committee of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy.  

In February, Abigail went to Warsaw for three days as a rapporteur on behalf of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. 

Abigail assisted with delivering legal training for Ukrainian prosecutors as part of an international law programme, ‘Capacity-Building Programme for Ukraine’s Legal Sector’, on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, that the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office funded.  A principal part of this three-day residential programme was a focus on how practically to prove issues such as genocidal intent in the context of smuggling children from Ukraine to Russia.  This was the third of three such modules for Ukrainian prosecutors.  Abigail assisted last August with the first module in this training programme.  This three-module programme has trained 89 Ukrainian prosecutors and 19 Ukrainian investigators.  Simultaneous interpretation via headsets was used throughout the three-module training programme.  A specific programme for enhancing peer-to-peer learning among Ukrainian judges ran in parallel to this training programme.

The objective of this three-module programme was to strengthen the processes, procedures, and execution of Ukraine’s legal sector and advance the rule of law in war crimes trials – resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – for prosecuting geocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  At this close of this programme, Ukrainian prosecutors were equipped to use model indictments to draft indictments to go before Ukraine’s national court.  The discussions included how to use sources of customary international law and when to deploy sanctions.

Ukraine is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, but Ukraine has twice exercised its prerogatives to accept the Court's jurisdiction over alleged crimes under the Rome Statute occurring on its territory, pursuant to article 12(3) of the Statute.

The panel of expert speakers at the third module of the programme included Sir Howard Morrison KCMG, CBE, KC, former Judge at the International Criminal Court (March 2012 to March 2021), an associate tenant at Doughty Street Chambers.

Abigail’s report was addressed to the Chair of the Working Group on Advocacy Training for a Ukraine Tribunal, a part of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy international committee. 

Abigail is the Secretary to the Working Group.