The Hague, 5 March 2023
The Ukrainian authorities organised the United for Justice Conference from 3-5 March in the city of Lviv, bringing together a great number of stakeholders involved in the efforts to ensure accountability for core international crimes allegedly committed in Ukraine. As a key outcome of the conference, the seven partner countries* of the Eurojust supported joint investigation team (JIT) decided to amend the agreement between them in order to reflect the future role of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA).
The ICPA will be part of the existing support structure for the JIT, with a specific focus on supporting and enhancing investigations into the crime of aggression. The current amendments to the JIT agreement formalize Eurojust’s role in support of the ICPA and specify that JIT partner countries may benefit from the additional logistical, financial and operational support it offers.
As a JIT participant, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court may take part in the cooperation via the ICPA when certain conditions are met. Now that the ICPA is officially part of the JIT agreement, Eurojust will proceed with the practical implementation. The main building blocks are expected to be in place by the summer. The JIT members, the OTP and Eurojust will continue their smooth cooperation regarding ongoing investigations on alleged core international crimes in Ukraine.
Commenting on the revised JIT agreement, Eurojust President Mr Ladislav Hamran said: ‘These amendments are a crucial milestone in the process of setting up the ICPA. They reflect the ambition of all JIT partners to address the impunity gap and give Eurojust a solid legal basis to proceed with the practical implementation as swiftly as possible. The fact that the amendments were agreed upon during such an important conference in Lviv is a symbol of our continued commitment to ensuring justice for the Ukrainian people.’
The United for Justice Conference also marked the official launch of the Ukraine Accountability Dialogue Group, aimed at promoting dialogue and coherence across the diverse range of accountability initiatives currently in motion. The decision to set up the Dialogue Group was taken by 45 countries at the Ukraine Accountability Conference, held in The Hague on 14 July last year. Together with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, Eurojust will co-chair a workstream on national investigations with the aim to identify key challenges faced in core international crime cases and jointly propose solutions at policy level.
The conference was officially opened by Ukrainian President Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as by a video message of the European Commission President Ms Ursula von der Leyen, and amongst the participants were Prosecutor General of Ukraine Mr Andriy Kostin, European Commissioner for Justice Mr Didier Reynders and Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Mr Karim A. A. Khan QC. Over the course of three days, there were many panel discussions on a wide range of topics related to the ongoing accountability efforts.
* Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Romania.