What does transitional justice offer to Ukraine? Short interviews with UHHRU experts

We present for your attention the first batch of short interviews on implementation of transitional justice principles in Ukraine.

Oleg Martynenko, Associate Professor of Law Sciences, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Oleg Martynenko
Oleg Martynenko

The principles of transitional justice constitute valuable international expertise on containing the consequences of armed conflicts and establishing rules for safe and peaceful life after war. The whole diversity of transitional justice can be divided into four main areas: compensation to conflict victims, impartial prosecution of war criminals, truthful reporting of facts and events, and reforms aimed at ensuring a peaceful future.

It is objectively necessary for Ukraine to develop its own nationwide model of transitional justice, in order to start a dialogue with all citizens that suffered as a result of the conflict and occupation. Adoption of transitional justice will allow Ukraine to plan a development strategy several years ahead, as a guarantee of achieving a lasting peace and observing human rights in occupied territories after their liberation.

It is safe to say that ending the war is what the majority of Ukrainians want. Acting within the framework of transitional justice, Ukraine has every chance to withdraw from the conflict in the most civilized manner while respecting the principles of the European Union and adhering to the Minsk Protocol. Without a doubt, this combination will serve to harmonize international relations in the region and to establish a favorable investment climate.

Ukraine’s domestic policy based on transitional justice will reduce social tensions through fair and impartial justice with the involvement of European experts, as was the case, for instance, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The punishment of guilty parties and protection of conflict victims, together with a compensation system, will undoubtedly facilitate the process of overcoming of the conflict’s consequences and help prevent its recurrence in the future. Let’s be honest, there are more than enough arguments in favor of implementing transitional justice in Ukraine.


Andriy Halay, Associate Professor of Law Sciences, analyst, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Andriy Halay
Andriy Halay

I suspect, right now this term is nothing but two vague words for the Ukrainian society. They haven’t heard about it, they don’t understand it and thus find it hard to relate to. Peaceful settlement with the use of effective tools that worked in other countries – sounds better, doesn’t it? So what can it do for us? It can help us achieve peace while preserving the lives of conflict-affected people. In addition, the invasion will receive international and legal assessment, including the roles of its active participants. This way is worth a try.


Serhiy Movchan, analyst, Human Rights Abuse Documentation Center, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Serhiy Movchan
Serhiy Movchan

Right now, Ukraine, which is experiencing a difficult situation due to the conflict in the east and occupation of Crimea, has a chance to use the transitional justice model to resolve the situation and make a repeat of negative effects impossible. Transitional justice is quite an interesting approach to resolving social conflicts in the state, and among other things, it is an opportunity to reconcile people, territories, and different interests. However, Ukraine is just at the beginning of this road and adoption of transitional justice is a very important step now, for the sake of our country’s bright future.


Interview prepared by Tayisiya Kylba, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


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