The International Criminal Court and the European judicial arm on Wednesday (21 September) released a set of guidelines to help civil society workers record international atrocities, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, particularly in Ukraine. .
Launched in The Hague, where both the ICC and Eurojust are located, the guidelines provide practical advice, including on how to collect witness statements and store information for later use in ICC prosecutions.
“With the war in Ukraine…accountability for core international crimes and human rights violations is more essential than ever for international criminal justice,” said Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran.
“These guidelines will be a key part of efforts by authorities and civil society organizations to collect and preserve information and evidence that may become admissible in court,” he said in a statement.
Other tips also included taking witness statements and how to photograph people as well as dealing with physical evidence to be presented in court cases.
“Civil society organizations are essential partners in our common goal of securing accountability for international crimes,” said ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan.
“Through this publication, we also seek to highlight how we can work together more effectively to protect the most vulnerable when we engage in documentation efforts,” he said in the statement.
Khan joined a team of EU investigators in April to investigate possible international crimes committed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
This agreement was intended to facilitate investigations and prosecutions as well as those that could be carried out before the ICC, Eurojust said at the time.
Wednesday’s release comes as the EU called for an international war crimes tribunal after mass graves were discovered outside the formerly Russian-occupied town of Izyum, some of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture.