Ukraine: new site compares routes to accountability

10 February 2023
Ukraine: new site compares routes to accountability

A new online resource provides information on the existing pathways to legal accountability, for those responding to human rights violations and crimes resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The website, Mapping of Accountability, is aimed at lawyers and activists, and is available in Ukrainian and English. A collaboration between the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) and the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group (ULAG), it grew out of a research project to map the available routes for those seeking legal remedies.

“We hope this tool will provide a one stop shop for those practitioners who are considering building cases and submitting them to accountability mechanisms already available in relation to Ukraine.

“We have highlighted subject-matter jurisdiction, the most relevant standards and the available remedies for each of the mechanisms, in an accessible format that can be kept up to date as new options for accountability are developed.”

Nadia Volkova, Director, ULAG

Kate Levine, Senior Legal Consultant, EHRAC, said, “The war in Ukraine has already resulted in a vast number of crimes and human right violations. In the context of the Russian Federation’s expulsion from the Council of Europe, it’s important for all human rights defenders to understand the alternative potential routes to accountability.

“The mapping project which has resulted in this new site helped us to gain a clearer oversight of the changing landscape and potential avenues for redress. We built on this research to inform the work of lawyers, activists, and others working on accountability in Ukraine.

The site, which will be updated regularly, allows users to compare a range of international human rights and criminal law mechanisms including the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Human Rights Committee, the Committee Against Torture, the International Criminal Court, and domestic investigations into crimes in Ukraine under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’.

Users can read through the whole resource or use filters to identify the most suitable options for a particular crime or human rights violation.

The site also documents the efforts of States to initiate their own investigations, working under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

The Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group (ULAG) is a member of the Ukraine 5AM Coalition, which comprises 30 human rights organisations and independent experts. The Coalition seeks to document war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, to raise awareness of issue related to the conflict and to support legal claims resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Federation ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe on 16 March 2022. As a result, the ECtHR can only deal with applications against Russia concerning actions or omissions occurring on or before 16 September 2022. Over 17,000 applications against Russia are currently pending before the ECtHR.