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Dr. Dmytro KOVAL Prosecuting Russian Aggression and War Crimes Domestically: Ukrainian and UJ perspectives

Date : 07.06.2022 — Vidéo 54 min.

Alongside the creation of four special prizes by the Royal Academy of Belgium, the Collège Belgique wishes to support Ukrainian and dissident Russian scholars through the organization of remunerated online conferences, in order to allow them to carry on their research activities. ⬇️

These lectures were organised online in June 2022, according to the organizational framework in place at the Collège Belgique.

Implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL) domestically was always a cumbersome process. One of the most intricate elements of the implementation is often a proper criminalization of the grave breaches of the IHL. Most of the time the complications with criminalization do not surface in the amount necessary for the comprehensive full-fledged academic analysis. In Ukraine, on the contrary, especially after February 24, 2022, the number of alleged war crimes exceeds ten thousand. This overwhelms national investigators and prosecutors but simultaneously raises a number of substantial legal questions on the interpretation of the IHL. In my presentation, I’ll try to inventorize some of the most pressing issues of the domestic prosecution for the IHL breaches and comment on Ukraine’s efforts to overcome them. Moreover, I’ll reflect on the universal jurisdiction track of prosecution of war crimes and share a few thoughts on the domestic application of the concept of the crime of aggression.


1. Sergey Vasiliev, Aggression against Ukraine: Avenues for Accountability for Core Crimes, available at:
2. Wolfgang Benedek, Veronika Bilkova and Marco Sassòli, Violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022: Summary of the Report by a Mission of Experts under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, available at:
3. Kevin Jon Heller, Creating a Special Tribunal for Aggression Against Ukraine Is a Bad Idea, available at:
4. The Domestic Implementation of International Humanitarian Law. A Manual, available at:

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