The Webinar “Safeguarding the Law and Process: Defending War Crimes Accused, International Courts and Ukraine”

29June 2021

The Webinar “Safeguarding the Law and Process: Defending War Crimes Accused, International Courts and Ukraine” (29 June, 17:00 – 18:30 EET). 

Nuremberg Principle V states: “Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law”. 

The right to a fair trial includes a right to defence. However, the role and responsibility of defence counsels is not limited just to their clients. The qualitative organisation of the defence helps balance criminal proceedings, it makes it more argumentative and competitive. This legitimises both a trial and its judgment – not only from a point of law but, first and foremost, in their perception by a given society and the international community.

The organisation of defence in extraordinary cases – such as those concerning war crimes or other atrocities – has a particular resonance. In such contexts, a society is usually quite polarised, has pre-established perception about the culpability of the accused and defence lawyers may even face open hostility.

Ukraine views the majority of Crimea and Donbas issues through a convictory prism of criminal proceedings. In this webinar, we will analyse how well-equipped Ukrainian counsel are to provide a qualitative defence to their clients in war-related cases. Is it disturbing that currently not a single Ukrainian lawyer is registered as a counsel with the International Criminal Court? Can acquittals in war crime cases contribute to reconciliation?



  • Kate Gibson, Defence Counsel, International Criminal Court;
  • Dov Jacobs, Defence Counsel, International Criminal Court; Founder, Strategic International Legal Consulting.


  • Maria Tomak, Coordinator, Media Initiative for Human Rights;
  • Dr Kateryna Busol, Lawyer, Centre for Defence Strategies.



The event will be held in English and through the Zoom platform, simultaneous translation into Ukrainian will be provided.

If you would like to participate in the discussion and/or send your questions and comments to the Zoom chat, please register here:

You can also follow the webinar on other platforms. The original English discussion will be broadcasted on the YouTube page of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union: The Ukrainian translation of the discussion will be broadcasted on the Facebook pages of the organisers:,



  • Media Initiative for Human Rights;
  • USAID Human Rights in Action Program;
  • Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union;
  • Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.


This event is a part of #InternationalLawTalks – a series of webinars aimed to facilitate qualitative, interesting and accessible discussions on the topical issues of international law in Ukraine. 

For each session, the webinars bring together distinguished professionals from Ukraine and abroad. They contextualise the armed conflict, peace and transitional justice issues in Ukraine within the larger dynamics of international law and international relations. 

The aim of the project is twofold: to help Ukrainian legal professionals and the general public see the wider horizons of their native context and to provide more local and regional insight to international colleagues.


A series of webinars #InternationalLawTalks is made possible thanks to USAID Human Rights in Action Program.

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