A training session on international humanitarian law for journalists took place in Kyiv

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On January 19-21, 2024, a training on international humanitarian law (IHL) for media professionals and journalism educators was held in Kyiv, organized by the Human Rights Centre ZMINA.

During the three days of work, the participants got acquainted with the main principles of international humanitarian law, the history of its emergence, key terms, information resources about IHL, the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of Ukraine.

A separate thematic block was dedicated to participants and victims of armed conflict, combatants, non-combatants and civilians, as well as issues related to prisoners of war and civilian hostages. Representatives of the National Information Bureau, the Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Joint Center for the Coordination of the Search and Release of Persons Illegally Deprived of their Liberty as a result of the aggression against Ukraine spoke before the journalists.

The training additionally covered the responsibility for violations of IHL, international courts and tribunals, including the UN International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

The experts and trainers of this event were as follows: 

Timur Korotky, vice-president of the Ukrainian Association of International Law, adviser to the president of the Red Cross Society of Ukraine on international humanitarian law, candidate of legal sciences and associate professor;

Natalia Handel, researcher of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, candidate of legal sciences and associate professor; 

Arkady Dabagyan, head of the operational headquarters of the Mykolaiv regional organization of the Red Cross Society of Ukraine; 

Ruslana Bolkun, chief specialist in international humanitarian law of the Red Cross Society of Ukraine; 

Oleksandr Vlasenko, spokesman of the International Committee of the Red Cross; 

Inna Zavorotko, deputy head of the international law department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and doctor of philosophy in international law; 

Yuriy Usmanov, co-founder of the Center for International Humanitarian Law and Transitional Justice, candidate of legal sciences and associate professor; 

Zakhar Tropin, associate professor of the International Law Department of the Educational and Scientific Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and candidate of legal sciences; 

Anton Korynevych, ambassador on special assignment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

“Often, touching on the issue of international humanitarian law and responsibility for its violation, people in Ukraine are on an emotional swing. Between the total despair that everyone has abandoned us, Russia continues to commit crimes with impunity for years and do nothing about it, and unrealistic expectations that all violators will be found and punished, — says the head of the Human Rights Centre ZMINA Tetiana Pechonchyk . — It is important for media professionals, as well as those who train the next generation of journalists, to have basic knowledge of IHL and international criminal law, to give a deeper and more professional understanding to their audiences: why the rules that have developed in the world do not work or work with interruptions; how humanity moves to prevent wars; how we can use existing tools and create new ones to reduce casualties and justly punish war criminals.”