The International Bar Association (IBA) has once again affirmed its support for Ukraine following the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country.
The IBA has consistently condemned the invasion and has been working to ensure accountability for war crimes and other international crimes committed during the conflict.
IBA President Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama expressed solidarity with Ukraine and its legal community, who have been working in difficult circumstances to serve their clients and their country.
She emphasized the importance of legal accountability, including individual criminal liability, and reaffirmed the fundamental values of the legal profession.
Last year, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the IBA’s annual conference and praised delegates as “defenders of the law and human rights.” The IBA has also signed memorandums of understanding with Ukraine’s prosecutor general and Ministry of Justice, as well as the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision, to support free legal aid provision.
The IBA is continuing its efforts to improve the legislative framework for cases involving military crimes, drafting a memorandum of understanding with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
Through these initiatives, the IBA is committed to promoting and protecting the rule of law and international justice in Ukraine and beyond.
In a statement issued by the IBA, they noted that Ukraine’s legal organisations and Prosecutor General have encouraged the widespread use of the IBA-founded eyeWitness to Atrocities app to capture potential evidence of war crimes.
The app is being used to amass verified documentary evidence of potential war crimes in a way that is compliant with international legal standards in domestic or international trials. The IBA says that to date, more than 32,000 images and videos have been received, with items submitted to the United Nations-mandated International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.
The IBA statement said:
‘Ukraine’s legal profession has found much support from the IBA’s vast network of lawyers from across the globe, who in solidarity have provided pro bono efforts in numerous areas, including anti-trust, environmental damage, war crimes and asset recovery, as well as hosting webinar discussions and interviewing Ukrainian lawyers who remain working in Ukraine.
‘The IBA President’s latest monthly blog post, Walking the Talk: Our brave Ukraine colleagues, features five short video clips of Ukrainian lawyers talking about how the war has impacted them and their professional practise.
‘The IBA’s flagship publication, Global Insight, has also covered the war and its ramifications extensively, with articles on the impact the war has had on the global energy market and food security, as well as sanctions, refugees and prisoners of war.’