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Ukraine: Joint NGO Letter on Aligning Domestic Legislation with International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law

Brussels, 16 September 2020

To the Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,

We respectfully call on you to ensure Ukraine demonstrates its serious commitment to victims of international crimes and takes the necessary steps to fully align its domestic legislation with international criminal law and international humanitarian law, including by incorporating provisions enabling the effective investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by Ukraine’s national authorities.

Under international law, States have the primary responsibility to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of these crimes and provide redress to victims.

We understand that Draft Law 2689 “On amendments to certain legislative acts on the Enforcement of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law” is on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada session this week, and we therefore call on you to ensure it is given positive consideration. 

Aligning national legislation with international law will equip national authorities with aspects of the legal framework necessary to support the effective investigation and prosecution of international crimes, building on the creation of the specialized “Department for Supervision in Criminal Proceedings of the Crimes Committed in Armed Conflict” in October 2019.

The harmonization of the criminal code of Ukraine with international law will strengthen the domestic justice system and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Importantly, it will send a strong message to the people of Ukraine and the international community that your country is committed to bringing perpetrators of international crimes to justice, and to addressing the suffering of victims.

We remain available for any assistance or questions that you may have.


The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC),

and the following CICC member organisations:

-Human Rights Watch (HRW)

-International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

-International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)

-Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI)

-No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ)

-Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)

-World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy (WFM/IGP)

-Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)

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