Peculiarities of War Crimes Evidence – Current Issues for Prosecutors and Investigators

Today’s webinar for Office of the Attorney General (OPG) prosecutors, investigators and operational staff of the Office of State Investigation (SBI) focused on the specifics of evidence of crimes of war.

“I urge my colleagues, investigators and prosecutors, to make the most of this opportunity to interact with leading experts in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law, because most of us have professionally encountered the category of war crimes for the first time. Therefore, we must be in a constant learning process. Errors at the investigation and documentation stage could lead to the loss of important evidence for national and international courts, as well as a situation where the people who commit these terrible crimes would not be brought to justice. War crimes are recorded daily. To date, we have over 31,000 registered war crimes in Ukraine. The workload falls on all investigative bodies. As the War Department, we work with the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, the State Bureau of Investigations, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. I hope the cooperation will continue.” – said Yurii Belousov, head of the department for combating crimes committed during armed conflicts of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The trainers of the seminar – experts from the Council of Europe, judge at the Supreme Court, specialists in international humanitarian law, representatives of the Department for the fight against crimes committed during armed conflicts of the OPG – pursued the following objectives:

  • explain the specifics of war crimes evidence
  • draw attention to the need to prove the contextual element in war crimes
  • explain the details of qualification under Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
  • explain the importance of investigations at the national level and cooperation with international jurisdictions
  • draw attention to the effectiveness of the investigation
  • explain the most problematic evidentiary issues based on current practice.

The event was held within the framework of the Council of Europe project “Supporting institutions to combat ill-treatment in Ukraine, Phase II” in co-operation with SBI and OPG.

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