A New Legal Network: Ukraine Legal Network Ukraine Legal Network December 21, 2023

A New Legal Network: Ukraine Legal Network

In the pursuit of justice for Ukrainian survivors in the Netherlands and beyond, The Nuhanovic Foundation recently launched its latest initiative, Ukraine Legal Network (ULN). Building upon the years of experience and expertise of The Nuhanovic Foundation in the international justice sector, this initiative brings together a dedicated group of Ukrainian and international lawyers committed to supporting survivors on their journey towards justice. 

Our Mission

Initiated as a response to the growing legal and non-legal needs of the Ukrainian community in the Netherlands, ULN is a survivor-led project that is based on extensive community feedback and consultation with survivor groups, Ukrainian lawyers, and Ukrainian civil society organisations. ULN aims to: 

  1. Help organise, inform and empower Ukrainian legal practitioners, human rights activists and law students who reside in the Netherlands, and 
  2. Actively utilise accountability options available in the Dutch legal system or international mechanisms based in the Netherlands, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), for the benefit of those of the 95.000 Ukrainians in the Netherlands who are survivors or witnesses of atrocity crimes.

With this, we want to complement and further expand existing efforts to fight impunity for international crimes committed in Ukraine and offer Ukrainians options for legal remedies.

Our Method
Leveraging Domestic & International Courts

ULN recognises the complexity of seeking justice for survivors and employs a multifaceted and holistic legal strategy to champion the rights of survivors. The Network engages with the Ukrainian community in the Netherlands to act as a link between survivors and justice mechanisms such as the ICC and ICJ, the Genocide Network, Eurojust Joint Investigative Taskforces, and human rights treaty body systems like the Human Rights Committee, in addition to leveraging domestic Dutch criminal and civil litigation processes. Through our engagement with the Ukrainian community in the Netherlands at large, we document accounts of survivors and witnesses of international crimes with the goal of building dossiers of information that may be used as evidence. 

Empowering Survivor Communities 

Together with partners, ULN provides training for Ukrainian members of the network to empower these advocates to work with us to serve their community’s justice needs. Through a series of lectures, training and interactive events, ULN equips them with the tools and capacities needed to be the link between justice mechanisms in the Netherlands and the larger community of Ukrainian refugees, thereby creating a victim-first approach

Survivor Support

ULN provides legal and non legal information to Ukrainians in the Netherlands, making the technical legal language and procedures comprehensible and facilitating victims’ access to a variety of justice spaces. The network also offers referral pathways to social and psychological services, to make sustained engagement with justice processes feasible and meaningful.

Advocacy & Lobbying

ULN is not only focused on legal proceedings but also serves as a platform for advocacy. By helping Ukrainian survivors have a voice in their own justice processes, we aim to ensure that authorities actively engage with the survivor community and offer opportunities for survivor participation. This holistic approach underscores ULN’s commitment to seeking legal redress while facilitating a broader discussion around the rights of survivors and witnesses. Through our advocacy efforts, we aim to contribute to a deeper understanding of the issues at hand and build a supportive framework for survivors.

Next Steps

In a world where justice can sometimes seem elusive, Ukraine Legal Network aims to stand firmly in support of the Ukrainian survivor community. By navigating the intricate web of legal avenues, both domestic and international, ULN embodies a commitment to accountability and human rights. Going forward, ULN is dedicated to championing the rights of survivors of international crimes and grave human rights violations, with the aim of not only seeking justice, but also creating lasting change in the landscape of international human rights.

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