Ukraine 5 AM Coalition summed up the results of 2023 and decided on further priorities

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The Ukraine 5 AM Coalition held a two-day strategic session during which participants analyzed the state of development and determined the approaches and focus of efforts of member organizations to ensure the implementation of strategic goals, organizational and institutional capacity of the coalition.

The event took place on January 24-25 in Kyiv.

The ten member Coalition Secretariat presented achievements in the areas of the Coalition’s activities and challenges facing it.

The secretariat in 2023 included: Maksym Yelihulashvili (Coalition Coordinator), Yuliia Riukhova (Assistant), Denys Rabomizo and Mariia Sulialina (Documentation department), Tetiana Pechonchyk and Olha Reshetylova (Information department), Alena Luneva, Nadiia Volkova, Arie Mora (Advocacy department), Onysiia Syniuk and Daryna Pidhorna (Analytical department).

As was noted during the strategic session, as of 2024, the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition includes 38 civil society organizations and four individual participants who jointly collect and document war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Russian armed aggression in Ukraine.

Within the scope of Coalition support for 2023, in accordance with international protocols, 3,596 cases of alleged war crimes were documented according to open sources; all of which were entered into the Ukrainian Mnemonic archive. As well, 577 interviews with victims and witnesses of war crimes, which were registered in the I-DOC Coalition database.

With the support of the Coalition, 14 field missions to the de-occupied regions were carried out. To train documentarians, a training session was held on the basics of documenting and interviewing, as well as a meeting to share experience in organizing and conducting field missions.

The map of war crimes, which was displayed in Davos and at other international venues, was regularly updated with information as part of the cooperation with the Pinchuk Art Centre.

Currently, the Coalition works in a number of databases, including:

  • Cloud environment of the eyeWitness to Atrocities application;
  • “Ukrainian Archive”  by Mnemonic, which contains more than 6 million open source files, including more than 1.7 million video files, more than 2 million photo files and almost 2.3 million text files;
  • The joint database of the Coalition in I-DOC , which contains 2.3 thousand registered events related to alleged crimes, more than 6 thousand entered documents, profiles of more than 4.3 thousand victims, 2.9 thousand witnesses, 2.6 thousand suspects in the commission of war crimes during the Russia war against Ukraine, as well as over 4,000 registered profiles of protected objects.

Over the past year, within the scope of supporting the documentation of war crimes as well as taking care of the mental and physical health of its members, the Coalition organized and conducted a retreat for documenters in the Carpathian mountains and provided medical insurance for 18 employees of Coalition member organizations.

In order to protect the victims of Russian aggression, promote justice processes at the national and international level and bring the top leadership of the Russian Federation as well as the direct perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, the Coalition worked with the national authorities: Ministry of Reintegration, National Information Bureau, the Representation of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights and others. The Coalition additionally engaged with international partners: UN structures, Council of Europe, OSCE, EU, representatives of partner countries. 

The experts of the Coalition worked as part of working groups within the International Council of Experts of the OPG (on the protection of human rights, protection of children’s rights, on issues of international humanitarian law, etc.).

Six Coalition statements were prepared and made public, in particular regarding the “sentences” to Ukrainian prisoners of war; the destruction of the Kakhovskaya HPP dam; a missile attack on the music and drama theater in Chernihiv; the need for urgent ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC; the inadmissibility of Russia’s election to the UN Human Rights Council, issues regarding the implementation of the law on missing persons.

In addition, intra-coalition substantive discussions took place to develop common positions, in particular, regarding the national model of justice for international crimes, international tribunal and its modalities, problems of prosecution for collaborative activities, etc.

The Coalition initiated public discussions around uncomfortable topics related to justice for the most serious international crimes during the Russian aggression in Ukraine. For example, in the summer of 2023, human rights defenders and diplomats discussed “mirages of justice” and debated whether it is possible to build an effective architecture to ensure justice, and later in the winter of 2023, they had a discussion “Vaccination against populism: what should be the architecture of justice for Ukraine?” at the Civil Society Forum in Kyiv.

At the international level, the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition contributed to various events at the OSCE, Berlin Symposium, Parliamentary Summit of the Crimean Platform and the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Human rights defenders participated in the annual round tables of the ICC, where they met with representatives of court departments regarding their work in relation to Ukraine, and also prepared comments to the draft policy on the complementarity of the ICC, conducted and improved the work of the Informal Dialogue Group.

During 2023, the Coalition prepared a number of studies and analytical products devoted to the issues of the deportation of Ukrainians to Russia and Belarus and ways of returning deported citizens, forced conscription of Ukrainian citizens in the occupied territories into the army of the aggressor country, mechanisms of responsibility for international crimes and the situation with the work of lawyers in occupied Crimea.

Systematic work on the Coalition’s communication with various audiences continued to disseminate the findings. In particular, for the year 2023, 12 information digests and statements of the Coalition were distributed, more than 120 broadcasts of coalition experts were organized in national and international media, 20 media events in Kyiv based on the site of the media centre “Ukraine-Ukrinform”, 24 columns and blogs of Coalition representatives were published in authoritative Ukrainian media. During 2023, journalists prepared more than 500 materials with reference to the work of the Сoalition of which more than 100 were foreign media.

More than 25 thousand people visited the pages of the Coalition in social networks Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube. The total coverage reached over 150 thousand people. The Coalition also launched its own video format in the mode of Facebook streams Coalition Talks where human rights defenders shared assessments and key challenges in their work — in total, 13 such broadcasts took place last year.

The Coalition is also working on launching a web portal with a map of documented war crimes.

In 2023, the Coalition was nominated for the ifa AWARD which will be presented in Berlin in mid-February 2024. Since 2009, this award has been presented to individuals and organizations that, through their social, socio-political or artistic activities, do outstanding job for peace, international understanding and dialogue between cultures. Yoko Ono, Ernesto Cardenal, Carla del Ponte and Human Rights Watch have previously received this award.

The activities of the Coalition were supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, the International Foundation “Renaissance” and People in Need. The work of the Coalition was administered by the Regional Center for Human Rights, the FreeRights Association and the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin.

Regarding priorities for 2024, the Coalition plans to focus on continuing work on documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity, advocacy, preparing research and conducting information campaigns, as well as strengthening internal capacity and organizational capacity, launching a new website and new formats of joint work (monitoring of judicial war-related processes, victims support, assistance in transitional justice processes).

View the presentation (in Ukrainian)