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While the “old” post-WWII international order seems to be crumbling and inter- and intrastate conflicts are proliferating, the world is at the same time facing existential crises (such as climate change, environmental issues in general, terrorism) that demand international cooperation. Nowadays, security, and therefore defense, is sadly still about defending a state’s borders, but it is also much more.

Against this backdrop, the TDHJ offers academics and practitioners an opportunity to develop ideas on how to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable: international cooperation in times of international and internal conflicts.

Cover page Special Edition Impacts of War and Prospects of Peace

Author: Oleksandra Matviichuk is a Ukrainian lawyer, human rights defender, women activist and civil society leader based in Kyiv. Oleksandra, the founder and permanent head of the Center for Civil Liberties, is the first-ever Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Listed in 2023 Time 100 Most Influential People.

Abstract: This article highlights the multitude of crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, including indiscriminate attacks, illegal detentions, torture, extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence, and forced deportations. It emphasizes the importance of collecting evidence and reliable material to hold the perpetrators accountable. Furthermore, it explores the various justice initiatives taken at different levels, such as investigations by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the establishment of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group, the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the creation of the project “A Tribunal for Putin”. Finally, the article addresses the challenges in prosecuting the crime of aggression and the potential need for a special court to address the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Bottom-line-up-front: In the fight against impunity in the Ukrainian case, it is necessary to recall (1) the multitude of human rights violations and crimes committed by Russian troops and officials on Ukrainian soil; (2) the Ukrainian authorities’ desire for transparency to ensure reliable evidence; and (3) the justice initiatives adopted at different levels to hold perpetrators accountable.

Problem statement: How can NGOs cooperate with the state and international organizations to pursue accountability for core international crimes committed in Ukraine?

So what?: The UN system, in general, should be reformed to effectively prevent the worst and respond to human rights violations. An effective international system is a system that provides human rights, defence, and security guarantees for people regardless of whether or not they live in a country with a strong military, regardless whether or not they live in a country with nuclear weapons, regardless of whether or not they live in a country which has oil and gas or other natural resources that other well-developed democracies want to buy.


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