Join us, virtually, on 28 March 2023, at 18:00 CET, for the informative session on Practical Aspects of Admissibility and Assessment of Evidence in War Crimes Trials. The lectures will be given by Professor Bartłomiej Krzak of the University in Wrocław, Poland, Dr Dariusz Sielicki, former international judge in Kosovo, and Klaus Hoffman, advisor to the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office on the prosecution of war crimes. The meeting will be moderated by Dr Anna Adamska-Gallant. The webinar is a joint event of the Project Sunflowers, the Pravo-Justice Project and the National School for Judges of Ukraine.  

The webinar will be conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Ukrainian.

Please, use the following link to register:

On 28 February, 2023, the Project Sunflowers, the Pravo-Justice Project and The National School for Judges of Ukraine organized the webinar on Admissibility of Exercising Jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court.

The introduction was given by Natalia Shuklina, who represented the National School for Judges of Ukraine. The moderator of the webinar was Professor Paweł Wiliński, Chairman of the Foundation Sunflowers Council and Judge of the Criminal Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court, who underlined: "Our goal is to bring those responsible for committing crimes to justice. Therefore, the main question is how to effectively prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression? Which court should hear these cases? Of course, it is worth mentioning the Ukrainian national judicial system. However, when it comes to large-scale crimes, the courts known from the history of international criminal justice come to mind". Two papers were presented on the meeting. Professor Karolina Wierczyńska began her presentation with the idea of complementarity, which is about finding a balance between the interests of states and the interests of global justice, and then focused on discussing the premises of admissibility, attempting to show that the ICC has already formulated certain criteria for assessing State action. The speaker critically analysed not only the criteria of complementarity (in particular whether the state is acting to prosecute a case), but also other criteria relating to the seriousness of the case. Professor Hanna Kuczyńska, the next speaker, looked at the problem of complementarity of ICC jurisdiction from a practical perspective, analysing the procedure by which the ICC Prosecutor decides whether complementarity should prohibit prosecution before the ICC. Complementarity is thus assessed at two successive stages of proceedings before the ICC: the initiation of an investigation and the issuance of an arrest warrant, when a specific perpetrator is identified and specific criminal acts are indicated. Professor Kuczyńska also presented the potential implications of the existence of national immunities for assessing whether the 'impossibility to prosecute' condition of Article 17 of the Rome Statute is met. Her presentation also dealt with the issue of challenging the admissibility of a case - by a State Party, the ICC Prosecutor or an accused person, or against the jurisdiction of the ICC. 

The webinar was conducted in English wit simultaneous translation into Ukrainian. This webinar wasn’t recorded.

On  30 January, 2023, the Project Sunflowers organized the webinar on Role of the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court and Reparations for Victims of Armed Conflicts.

Introduction was given by Marina Lostal, Ph.D., experienced reparation for victims of armed conflicts’ expert. Key note speech was delivered by Franziska Eckelmans, acting Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). Legal officers of the ICC: Adeline Bedoucha, Cheihk Fall and Tars van Litsenbourg shared their experiences of working with victims of armed conflicts. Franziska Eckelmans began her presentation by defining the term 'reparations' and then focused on the role of the TFV, its organisation, mandates and main activities. Adeline Bedoucha provided the context for the reparation case of Al Mahdi, who was found guilty as a co-perpetrator of the war crime consisting in intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012. Ms Bedoucha then focused on the practical aspects of working with victims, stressing the importance of contacting victims as closely as possible to the time at which reparations will be ordered or delivered, and the importance of not raising expectations about future reparations. She also shared the methodology used in communicating with victims. The floor was then taken by Cheihk Fall, who presented the context of the Lubanga case. Mr. Lubanga was found guilty of the war crime of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities (child soldiers). The speaker outlined the role of victims' representatives, who should maintain regular contact with victims and remain flexible in dealing with victims' reported remedies. He also drew attention to choosing the right moment to contact victims, but above all he addressed the message to try to see the person not only as a victim of an atrocity, but above all to see the person as a human being. Then, Tars van Listenbourgh provided the context for the reparation case of Katanga, who was found guilty, as an accessory, of one count of crime against humanity: murder; and four counts of war crimes: murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging, committed on 24 February 2003 during the attack on the village of Bogoro, in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Kongo. Mr van Litsenbourgh, based on his experience in dealing with victims in the Katanga case, highlighted the flexibility that the legal representative of victims, but also anyone who comes into contact with victims in the reparation process, should have. Flexibility allows for the different needs of victims to be taken into account, and these can change over time. The speaker also spoke about the trust that victims of armed conflicts have in their legal representatives and the authority involved in the reparation process. Gaining trust, in turn, is possible through ongoing contact with victims.

The webinar was conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Polish and Ukrainian. Please, watch the abstract of the webinar.

On 24 May, 2022, the Project Sunflowers organized the webinar on Victims' rights before the International Criminal Court, the current stage of the Ukraine situation and what can victims do at this stage. The speaker was Philipp Ambach, Ph.D., Chief of the Victims Participation and Reparations Section (VPRS) at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Introduction was given by Matthew Gillett, Ph.D., experienced international lawyer at investigating and prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Philipp Ambach started from introduction of the Section of the Registry he is heading, and then focused on differences between the roles and mandates of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and the Registry, definition of “victims” at the ICC and their rights. He also underlined the difference between the scope of „a situation” (very large) and the scope of „cases” (usually very narrow) before the ICC. The speaker talked the differences between victims and witnesses, victim application form as well as about security and confidentiality issues.

The webinar was conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Polish and Ukrainian. Please, watch the abstract of the webinar.

On 19 May, 2022, the Project Sunflowers organized the webinar on Gathering information on violations of international humanitarian law and other atrocities committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. It was dedicated to Ukrainian lawyers, especially these who are staying in Poland. The speaker was Anna Adamska-Gallant, Ph.D., former international judge in Kosovo, head of the Judiciary Component of EU Pravo Justice in Ukraine. Introduction was given by Mykhaylo Shepitko, Professor of Criminal Law Department at the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, and Oksana Senatorova, Ph.D., a founder and Director of the NGO "Centre for International Humanitarian Law and Transitional Justice" (CIHLTJ), Associate Professor of the International Law Department at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University. Anna Adamska–Gallant underlined importance of collecting information on atrocities committed during the war from its very early stage. She referred to her experience from the Balkans, where a significant part of investigation in war crime cases was launched based on reports produced by activists of non – governmental organizations. At the same time, vast amount of these reports, while presented general information about the events, did not contain sufficient details and contact data of potential witnesses. As a result, it was not possible to conduct criminal proceedings which would allow for perpetrators to be held accountable for committed crimes. Therefore, a quality of such reports is essential to deliver justice. Prof. Mykhaylo Shepitko and Oksana Senatorova, Ph.D. stressed importance of development of standardized approach and methodology of collecting information, as well as of providing proper trainings.

The webinar was conducted in Ukrainian. The webinar was not recorded.

On 24 March, 2022, the Project Sunflowers organized the webinar on Collecting information of evidence and victims' rights regarding atrocities committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. The speakers were Matthew Gillett, Ph.D., experienced international lawyer at investigating and prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and Marina Lostal, Ph.D, specialist in the rights of victims in international law and the protection of cultural heritage in the armed conflict. Matthew Gillett presented the legal and practical considerations relevant to investigating such events, including: when to gather information, best practices for collecting information from witnesses and victims, and the handling and processing of collected information. Marina Lostal outlined key considerations regarding their qualifications as victims and the rules and practice governing victim reparations.  

The webinar was be conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Polish. Please, watch the abstract of the webinar.