EHRAC launches new project with Forensic Architecture collaboration on conflict in eastern Ukraine

Published: 1 Sep 2018

EHRAC has launched a new partnership with digital investigations agency Forensic Architecture (London) and the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group (ULAG, Kyiv) aimed at creating an innovative and comprehensive evidential tool to support efforts to establish legal responsibility for severe human rights violations in the conflict zone.

We are very excited to be collaborating with Forensic Architecture on these complex cases, combining their inter-disciplinary approach to fact-finding with our substantial litigation experience.” 

Jessica Gavron, EHRAC Legal Director

Ilovaisk, 19 August 2014. NATO Association of Canada (http://natoassociation.ca/the-war-in-ukraine-the-battle-of-ilovaisk/)

With support from the Sigrid Rausing Trust, EHRAC and ULAG will litigate a complex group of cases relating to the Battle of Illovaysk and its aftermath in the Donbas region of Ukraine. In August 2014, 29 members of a Ukrainian volunteer battalion were part of an operation aimed at regaining control of Illovaysk from separatist militants. They were surrounded and taken captive by Russian armed forces, and transferred into the hands of militants. Many were released several months later, having been verbally and physically abused, stripped of their belongings and having been put to forced labour.

Forensic Architecture specialises in cutting-edge digital investigations and reconstructions of contentious events, drawing on a variety of open-source material. They will analyse the vast amount of data relevant to the case, with the aim of establishing State responsibility for the detention and ill-treatment of the applicants. This evidence will be used in our case, and will be the first time that EHRAC has relied on such ground-breaking techniques to substantiate our arguments. You can read about the results of their previous investigations on the Forensic Architecture website.

There are currently over 4000 applications pending at the European Court of Human Rights relating to the conflict or to the annexation of Crimea. This project will build on EHRAC’s ongoing litigation on human rights violations in the Donbas region with the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. We are also working with the Regional Centre for Human Rights on cases from Crimea.