Send Letter eng
Analytics

Despair or search for justice: why victims of war crimes participate in court hearings

On March 20, the MIHR presented an analytical study on victims’ legal status, experience, and motivation in war crimes cases. This is the first such study in Ukraine. The research consists of a theoretical part about the experience of other countries in working with victims of war crimes, an analysis of national legislation, and a practical part where the team summarizes the experience of victims whose cases are already in courts or under active investigation. 

The first part of the study explains the legal framework of victims’ situations — both in national processes and in terms of international standards. In particular, this part draws attention to imperfections in the protection of victims’ rights and the incomplete compliance of national standards with international ones. We also introduce the concept of a human-centered approach and explain the inappropriateness of the term “victim” and victim-centered optics. 

In the second part of the report, the MIHR describes the challenges faced and how other countries that have experienced war have developed support systems for victims and witnesses. In particular, we draw attention to the cases of Georgia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina — their example clearly shows that the further away from the moment of the crime, the greater the victims’ disbelief in justice and the more unable international mechanisms are to compensate for their losses.

During the presentation of the new analytics of the MIHR, Lyudmyla Shumkova (on the right), a victim in the case of one of the Kherson torture chambers, talked about her experience of communication with law enforcement agencies.

The third section consists of in-depth interviews with victims, which we have conducted since the summer of 2023. People talk about the humane or insensitive attitude of the law enforcement and judicial systems towards them, the peculiarities of communication, the actual trial, testimony, expectations, and attitudes toward justice. It turned out that people who survived war crimes at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion and still have no sentence lose motivation and faith in justice. At the same time, awareness of their historical role and the desire to establish the truth can support them. 

In addition, we analyze the principles of work of the newly created Coordination Center for Victims and Witnesses.

We conclude the study with a list of tips for stakeholders that can improve the approach to working with victims at various levels, from legislative to media coverage. 

You can read the full analysis below.

0 Comments

Leave a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Mandatory fields are marked *

Relevant publications
More articles
Investigations
Over 30 missing Ukrainian media workers: violence, humiliation, and obscurity in occupation

In the occupied territories of Ukraine, Russia systematically persecutes journalists. As of today, MIHR knows of 31 Ukrainian media workers held captive by Russia. Among them are those abducted back in 2014, as well as those captured during the full-scale invasion. According to the Institute of Mass Information, as of May 8, 2024, due to Russian aggression, 80 media workers have died, 10 of whom while in the line of duty. In many cases, the fate of Ukrainian media workers captured by Russia remains unknown.

30 May 2024

War and justice
We call on the Verkhovna Rada not to adopt draft law № 7033-d, which limits access to court decisions

On May 2, 2024, the Parliamentary Legal Committee reviewed and endorsed draft law No. 7033-д for parliamentary consideration. This draft law limits access to information and decisions within the register of court decisions, which hold substantial public interest and are crucial for public oversight of law enforcement activities. The proposed changes undermine the principles of a democratic society and contradict Ukraine’s commitments to European integration.

16 May 2024

Advocacy
38 thousand missing Ukrainians: how to find and identify people

More than fifty diplomats took part in a special OSCE event, where the Media Initiative for Human Rights, for the first time since the beginning of Russia's war against Ukraine, raised the issue of missing Ukrainians. Apart from the MIHR and delegations of OSCE participating states, the discussion was attended by relatives of missing persons, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and the International Commission on Missing Persons.

16 May 2024

More articles