Post-conflict Ukraine – solution is known

In December 2017, a working group was established under the Ombudsman, comprising representatives of the Parliament and ministries as well as experts of non-governmental and international organizations. Within three months, UHHRU experts, as part of the group, drafted a state policy framework that will allow to unite the efforts of the government, political forces and civil society in predicting Ukraine’s post-conflict future.

The idea to develop a comprehensive approach to assessing the preconditions of and introducing transitional justice principles in Ukraine was a result of UHHRU’s long-term study started in 2015. Back then, a baseline study on the implementation of transitional justice in Ukraine was conducted and published (2016); a series of roundtables and an international conference “Post-Conflict Justice in Ukraine” (2017) were held, attended by 130 international experts. Such initiatives of UHHRU have encouraged scientific and professional research of the issues of transitional justice in a number of Ukrainian universities.

The principles of transitional justice enshrined in UN and EU program documents as well as the work of UHHRU’s team were adopted as the basis of the draft framework developed by the working group. The drafted document received a working title: “The Principles of State Policy for Protecting Human Rights in the Context of Addressing the Consequences of the Armed Conflict”. It provides tasks for the state in four strategic areas: reparations to the conflict’s victims; prosecution of war criminals; establishment of historical truth and objective depiction of events; reforms that would prevent a repeat of armed conflicts in the future. This said, implementation of some tasks should be started immediately (e.g. recording and assessing damages, documenting offenses, preparing lists of protected persons, etc.).

In February 2018, the draft principles were presented to representatives of diplomatic missions and received positive feedback in general. At the same time, the working group received a number of recommendations concerning the need to ensure proper information support of the document and to hold advocacy activities aimed at familiarizing Ukrainian society with international expertise on the implementation of transitional justice.

Oleg Martynenko, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Head of the Analytical Department
Oleg Martynenko,
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Head of the Analytical Department

Regardless of the draft law’s fate, we consider it necessary to emphasize that the work of UHHRU team will be guided by the principles of transitional justice. Together with our partners from other organizations, UHHRU proposes to begin a more in-depth discussion of the approaches toward the future of Ukraine, keeping in mind international expertise and urgent needs of those affected by the conflict.

Oleg Martynenko (UHHRU)

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