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IBA backs free legal aid for war-crimes defence
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01 Dec 2022 / global Print

IBA backs free legal aid for war-crimes defence

The terms of support for free-legal-aid provision for effective representation of cases concerning war crimes have been set out by the International Bar Association (IBA), Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision (CCLAP).

A joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) was officially signed in a virtual meeting on 25 November by IBA executive director Dr Mark Ellis, Ukraine’s MoJ deputy minister Valeria Kolomiets, and CCLAP director Oleksandr Baranov.

Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) President Anna Ogrenchuk presided at the virtual meeting.

IBA president Sternford Moyo commented: “Part of the International Bar Association’s duty as the global voice of the legal profession is to promote the importance of access to justice for all, and to expand and protect avenues to it, where possible.”

He added that the IBA was proud to help provide international expertise and training programmes to ensure that all defendants receive a fair trial: “It is imperative that support be given to the system of free legal aid to ensure the right to defence in war crimes,” he said.

Sovereign integrity violated

Dr Ellis stated: “It is important to reiterate that the IBA spoke out on the first day that Russia violated the most sacred principle of international law – violating the sovereign integrity of another country – and we continue to speak out to counter the ongoing aggressive acts being perpetrated by Russia.

“The IBA has already provided direct assistance to Ukraine – over 136 projects, interventions, and financial support [to date]. At the end of this conflict, the international community will undoubtedly assess Ukraine on its domestic trials, and whether they met international standards of fairness and impartiality.”

Gazette Desk
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