Two Researchers Participate in Significant International Law Summit in Ukraine

15 December 2023

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Genocide Convention and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Society of International Law and the Ukrainian Association of International Law invited international and Ukrainian lawyers in Lviv, Ukraine. The purpose of this summit was to contemplate these significant milestones and explore their contemporary relevance in fostering tangible actions for human rights. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the discussions particularly emphasized strategies for optimizing existing compliance and accountability mechanisms to facilitate access to justice and redress in this specific context.

Our two Researcher Fellows Dr Jonathan Andrew and Dr Nataliia Hendel participated in this major summit on behalf of the Geneva Academy and shared their insights from research on how the international rules protecting the most vulnerable in times of war and peace are implemented and respected.

‘Our participation provided an opportunity to exchange with international and Ukrainian lawyers about accountability prospects and avenues related to the armed conflict in Ukraine and lessons learned from other contexts’ explains Dr Andrew.

‘It was also important to show our solidarity with Ukrainian lawyers and our colleague Dr Hendel – hosted at the Geneva Academy under the Programme Scholars at Risk and a leading Ukrainian IHL expert – who played a key role in the organization of this summit’ he adds.

Framing Discussions on Forcible Transfer and on the Genocide Convention

Dr Nataliia Hendel co-chaired a discussion on 'Filtration, Forcible Transfer, and Mass Scale Arbitrary Detention' which examined how international legal and institutional frameworks can be mobilized to hold perpetrators accountable for forcible transfers of Ukrainians including vulnerable groups, such as children, older people, and people with disabilities.

She also moderated the plenary session titled 'Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide at 75: Never Again’, in which the panel of experts discussed the origins of the concept of “genocide” and how Western discourse may have adversely influenced foreign policies in the post-Soviet era. The panel’s debate also highlighted the status of Ukraine’s current Genocide Convention claims before the International Court of Justice and discussed how the ongoing conflict had witnessed atrocities that cemented a developing concept of “ecocide” of the country’s natural environment.

Reflecting on New Technologies and Human Rights

In the roundtable discussion on 'Law and Development in Ukraine’, Dr Jonathan Andrew provided insights from his work on emerging technologies and human rights, stressing the importance of implementing a forward-looking, achievable strategy as Ukraine looks to leverage its particular strengths and capabilities in its dynamic IT industry. His intervention also focused on the need to evaluate progress made to date in developing public administration and civic participation using new technologies and how, post-conflict, online platforms could be scaled to benefit a wider range of public services across the nation in areas such as education, healthcare and employment - emphasising how Ukraine has led this development in many areas.

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