Ensuring Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ukraine
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian and pro-Russian forces have committed legions of violations of international humanitarian law and acts that amount to war crimes, including widespread conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). To that end, GIJTR partners are currently partnering with key Ukrainian civil society actors in their efforts to investigate, document and pursue accountability for such atrocities.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian and pro-Russian forces have committed legions of violations of international humanitarian law and acts that amount to war crimes, including widespread conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). The timely and systematic documentation of atrocities is critical, both in terms of seeking accountability and countering Russian war propaganda. However, local Ukrainian civil society actors carrying out this work are under severe strain because of the devastating impact the conflict is having on their lives and well-being, and the added stress of having threats aimed at them as activists who are openly voicing their opposition to Russia’s occupation and engaging in on-the-ground documentation of abuses.
Responding to this pressing need, Global Initiative for Justice, Truth, and Reconciliation members the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation have partnered with the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), in consultation with Partners in Justice International (PJI) and Truth Hounds, to mobilize international resources, expertise, and assistance to increase coordination between and build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ukraine to document, investigate, and seek accountability for Russian war crimes, with a special focus on CRSV. The project will complement and reinforce the documentation efforts of local CSOs, and ensure that atrocities are investigated in a comprehensive and holistic fashion in accordance with international standards. It will also build the capacity of CSOs to store evidence securely and to effectively feed into relevant accountability mechanisms at the national, regional, and international levels.
Improving the capacity of civil society groups to investigate, document and collect evidence of war crimes and other gross violations perpetrated during the war in Ukraine, including CRSV, in a trauma-informed, coordinated, professional and effective manner
GIJTR partners organized two five-day training workshops to capacitate 20 documenters on the documentation of CRSV and trauma-informed, trauma-sensitive and empathic interviewing skills.
Enhancing civil society action to seek justice for international crimes, grave human rights abuses and related violations documented during the war in Ukraine through national, regional and international accountability mechanisms.
GIJTR local partner investigators on the ground in Ukraine will continue to conduct investigations and document atrocities committed in the context of Russia’s ongoing military aggression on Ukraine. Similarly to the evidence obtained through the other types of investigations that form part of this approach, the evidence obtained on the ground will be analyzed, processed and used for submissions to relevant accountability mechanisms and related follow-up and advocacy work