Mark Ellis visited Ukraine and held a number of meetings with lawyers, officials and politicians

Dr. Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), made an official visit to Ukraine on August 28-31, 2023. Mr. Ellis came to our country again to demonstrate international support to Ukrainians and, in particular, to the Ukrainian legal community during the full-scale Russian aggression, as well as to discuss how international legal experts can help state authorities, specialized institutions and other Ukrainian stakeholders.

With the support of the Ukrainian Bar Association, a number of meetings of the IBA Executive Director with lawyers, officials and politicians were held in Kyiv. Mark Ellis was accompanied at these meetings by Inna Liniova, UBA Executive Director, and Kateryna Pyshchyk, UBA Project Manager.

On Monday, August 28, Mark Ellis, Mykola Stetsenko, UBA President, and Oleksandr Kachura, Ukrainian parliament member, co-chairman of the Inter-Factional Deputy Association of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine "Tribunal for Russian Aggressors", signed a Memorandum of Understanding on coordination of efforts aimed at the establishment of the Special International Tribunal on the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. The objective of the Memorandum is consolidation of efforts of Ukrainian parliament members, Ukrainian lawyers and international partners regarding the legislative development, systemic advocacy and other activities aimed at ensuring accountability of the Russian military-political leadership, in particular by means of the establishment of the Special International Tribunal for the crime of aggression.

Dr. Ellis also met with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine, in particular with Anton Korynevych, Ambassador-at-large of the MFA of Ukraine, Chief Representative of Ukraine on international legal prosecution of the Russian Federation. The topic of the meeting was the creation of the Special Tribunal and popularization of this issue among international lawyers.

On Wednesday, August 30, the IBA Executive Director met with representatives of the National School of Judges of Ukraine (NSJU): Mykola Onishchuk, NSJU Rector, Oleksandr Ishchenko and Viktoriia Semenyuk, deputy heads of NSJU departments.

The parties discussed the need to acquaint Ukrainian judges with the experience of foreign courts regarding the use of electronic evidence, in particular a photo from the eyeWitness to Atrocities application, created by the IBA for convenient and quick documentation of war crimes. Mark Ellis accepted the invitation of Mr. Onishchuk to join the round table on the topic of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, which will be held on October 12-13, 2023, and highlight the issue of the use of electronic evidence of war crimes (photo/video/audio) by Ukrainian courts, as well as present eyeWitness to Atrocities application to event participants.

In addition, the meeting participants shared their views on possible cooperation in the investigation of military crimes. Mykola Onishchuk said that NSJU has developed a training course on military crimes, and proposed to include international experts who will be able to form proper judicial practices on this category of crimes for Ukrainian courts.

On Thursday, August 31, Mark Ellis held a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Ukraine: Oleksiy Bezhevets, Head of the Department of Claims Work and Control of the MoD Main Department of Military Justice (MDMJ), Vitaly Shchypytsyn, Deputy Head of the MDMJ, Yuriy Gulevaty, Head of the Department of Representation in International Jurisdictional Bodies of the MDMJ, and Viktor Maslyuk, Head of the International Humanitarian Law Department of the MoD Legal Support Department.

The participants of the meeting discussed the prospects of pro bono involving international lawyers in advising the MoD in some cases.

Mark Ellis also gave an interview to the Ukrainian media, which will be published soon.

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