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Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group Press Release

21 June 2022

Image: GRC’s Managing Partner Wayne Jordash (left) with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova (right) on the ground, in the Kyiv region.

As announced by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General on Friday, GRC will co-lead the Atrocity Crimes Advisory (ACA) Group, an initiative introduced by the US, the UK, and the EU. This project will be implemented in partnership with the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the International Development Law Organisation.

The ACA will provide critical support to the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), which bears the most tremendous burden of cases, in their mission for justice for the victims of crimes and for truth and accountability. GRC, together with its partners, will ensure that the Ukrainian justice system is not left on its own in the moment of unprecedented challenges it is currently facing. The ACA will assist the OPG in implementing international standards and best practices in its day-to-day work, thus ensuring that Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors build robust cases.

Notably, in the first-ever initiative of its kind, GRC has set up mobile justice teams (MJTs) to assist Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors on the ground, where such assistance is needed the most. These MJTs will bring together leading domestic and international experts in the field of international criminal law, mass atrocity crimes investigations and case-building, as well as provide support to victims and witnesses. This will enable Ukraine to stay at the forefront of the international crimes investigations and prosecutions, as all justice efforts start at home.

In delivering its services, GRC are led by the understanding that justice can only prevail if founded on the coordinated effort of various stakeholders, including national authorities, international experts, particularly leading legal practitioners, and civil society actors. Pursuing justice must be a joint struggle for a common result, as opposed to scattered, uncoordinated and overlapping activities on different fronts.

The strongest available support must be provided to the justice processes in the jurisdiction affected by mass atrocities. Domestic authorities are both the most burdened by the influx of crimes and best equipped to collect vital evidence, maintain communication with affected communities and manage their expectations, as well as provide Ukrainian society with the truth on its road to transitional justice. With this in mind, GRC are determined to employ its accumulated experience and expertise to mentor, assist and advise the Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors on their way to accountability and justice.

GRC have been active in Ukraine since 2015, having implemented a range of projects since then. Last week, GRC published its authoritative legal opinion “International Law and Defining Russia’s Involvement in Crimea and Donbas”, which reveals the truth about Russia’s role in Crimea and Donbas. Also last week, the Office of the Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea submitted to the ICC a communication on the crime against humanity of persecution drafted by GRC within the project “Strengthening Ukraine’s Capacity to Investigate and Prosecute International Crimes”.

To learn more about GRC’s work in Ukraine, visit https://globalrightscompliance.com/home-foundation/