Interview of Anna Ogrenchuk for FEMIDA.UA: the UBA’s cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, assistance during the war, international activities

Anna Ogrenchuk, President of the Ukrainian Bar Association, gave an interview to the legal journal FEMIDA.UA, in which she spoke in detail about the UBA’s activities during the full-scale war.

In particular, the President of the Association spoke about the cooperation of the UBA with the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Ukraine in providing legal assistance to servicemen and members of their families on a number of issues, as well as in creating a platform for the implementation and dissemination of international standards and best world practices in the system of military law. The creation of such a platform is provided for in a memorandum signed by the UBA, the International Bar Association (IBA) and the MoD at the beginning of March this year.

"The task of lawyers is to make service in the army comfortable from the point of view of legal support. In this aspect, we must also move towards the best international standards. It is not a soldier’s job to document something and think about it on the front line, and the legislation should be clear, without double interpretation, with norms of direct effect. And the key thing is that all parties adhere to these rules," Anna Ogrenchuk emphasized.

The UBA President also summed up the results of the first year of work of the Hotline to help war-affected Ukrainians and talked about the Association's charitable assistance to those lawyers and their families who found themselves in a difficult situation due to the war.

In addition, Anna Ogrenchuk shared details of a recent joint event of the UBA, the Media Initiative for Human Rights, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice in New York, where the creation of the Special Tribunal for the crime of aggression, documentation and investigation of war crimes committed by Russians in Ukraine in national and international institutions were discussed. During the meeting, foreign lawyers had a unique opportunity to talk with two Ukrainian women who survived Russian captivity — Lyudmyla Huseynova and Anna Olsen.

"We live in a war every day, we communicate with witnesses, victims every day, and although you can't get used to their horrible accounts, we are in a constant context. US and European lawyers, of course, are also on the topic and provide constant support to Ukraine, but it was not easy for them to accept what they heard directly from Lyudmyla and Anna," said the UBA President.

Anna Ogrenchuk added that since February 2022, the Association has intensified the its international activity.

"We have access to the best international lawyers and practitioners in the field of international humanitarian and international criminal law, specialists who personally participated in the conviction of war criminals, created tribunals or formed compensation mechanisms. Their help is invaluable," she emphasized.

The full version of Anna Ogrenchuk's interview in Ukrainian is available via this link (pages 28-31).

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