March 30, 2023

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor and the European Union’s judicial cooperation agency Eurojust have launched a set of guidelines for non-governmental organizations collecting evidence of atrocities in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world.

“With the war in Ukraine, peace and justice are under the most serious pressure and accountability for core international crimes and human rights violations is more essential than ever for international criminal justice,” Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the guidelines would be “key building blocks of efforts by authorities and civil society organizations to collect and preserve information and evidence that can be admissible in court.”

This includes approaching and interviewing vulnerable witnesses, advising on dealing with documents, digital information and items that may be evidence as well as storing, analyzing and preserving information and pieces of potential evidence.

Allegations of atrocities Russian forces have been fighting a nearly seven-month war in Ukraine It has resurfaced in recent days as Ukrainian forces have retaken parts of their country and discovered mass graves and possible torture sites.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan has launched an investigation into Ukraine and sent teams to collect evidence. Other countries are also supporting the investigation efforts by sending experts. Prosecutors have not yet announced any charges related to the conflict.

In March, Eurojust helped set up a joint investigation team with Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The ICC’s prosecution also agreed to participate in the group, and in May it expanded when Slovakia, Estonia and Latvia joined.

Khan said NGOs are important partners in our common goal of achieving accountability for international crimes. Now more than ever we must work together to strengthen our common cause for justice.”


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