New York State Bar Association Urges U.N. To Launch War Crimes Tribunal To Investigate Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine
The New York State Bar Association is urging the United Nations to establish a war crimes tribunal to investigate the invasion of Ukraine.
“During our nearly 150-year history, the New York State Bar Association has been a champion of the rule of law and human rights. We must establish a tribunal to make certain that justice is served,” said association President Sherry Levin Wallach.
The association’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of its governing body, the House of Delegates, voted today to ask the U.N. to investigate members of the Russian military and government for violations of international law including human rights violations, crimes against humanity and aggression. The tribunal would be similar to the courts that investigated war crimes in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Cambodia.
With tensions growing between Russia and Ukraine in late 2021, the New York State Bar Association established a Ukraine chapter, partnering with the Ukrainian Bar Association. Early this year, the association’s International Section launched a task force to help collect evidence of war crimes, assist refugees, provide humanitarian relief and aid displaced lawyers.
“Every lawyer in the United States and around the globe has a stake in making sure that the rule of law is upheld in Ukraine,” said Scott M. Karson, a past president of the association and co-chair of the Ukraine Task Force along with Serhiy Hoshovsky and Ed Lenci. “We must hold leaders and soldiers accountable for war crimes.”
Anna Orgenchuk, chair of NYSBA’s Ukraine chapter and president of the Ukrainian Bar Association, has seen the devastating impact of the invasion on her homeland.
“This is one of the challenges we as international lawyers encounter — to leave no immoral and unlawful deed legally unpunished,” Orgenchuk said. “With the support of NYSBA experts, we believe we can show to international judicial institutions the scale and depth of Russia’s crimes in Ukraine. I strongly believe that the future of not only Ukraine but of Western civilization depends on our success in bringing perpetrators to justice.”
The New York State Bar Association has a long history of standing up for the rule of law both in the United States and internationally. In 1896, the association proposed the creation of a global court to settle disputes among nations. That court is now called the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. In 1992, the association called for the creation of the International Criminal Court, which was established in 1998. Its purpose is to investigate and prosecute war criminals. The court prosecuted leaders from 17 nations including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Sudan and Uganda.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.