About the Center for War Crimes Documentation in Warsaw
Center for War Crimes Documentation is a safe space in Warsaw where every person from Ukraine who eye-witnessed or fell victim to crimes committed by russians can share their story or hold the perpetrators accountable.
Professional lawyers will fill out your story in the testimony format and forward it to prosecutors to be considered in national and international courts. When required, you will also be able to receive psychological care while offering your testimony if you feel it difficult and morally traumatic to recall your experience.
The collection, processing, and transfer of data to international courts are administered in a safe mode – from the protected web services on international servers to physical storage and anonymization of written files in compliance with the European standards.
About the organization
Center for War Crimes Documentation in Warsaw was opened by the Civil Network OPORA. OPORA is a leading non-governmental and non-partisan all-Ukrainian organization of civil control and advocacy in electoral field, parliamentarianism, education, communal property management, energy efficiency, local self-governance, and the comprehensive implementation of open data principle. OPORA has worked in Ukraine for over 16 years to promote political and electoral rights of citizens, to implement the principles of the rule of law and human rights.
However, since the onset of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, the organization resolved to help international community, to human rights lawyers, and to Ukrainian authorities to support the inescapable nature of punishment for war crimes. That is why OPORA now cooperates with Office of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Poland, prosecutors of the International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA) in order to collect as many correctly recorded testimonies of Ukrainians as possible as an evidence base for future trials. A separate NGO was registered for these needs – “OPORA in Poland”. When collecting evidence, lawyers and psychologists of the Center follow to the recommendations on Documenting international crimes and human rights violations for the purpose of bringing criminal responsibility: recommendations for organizations of civil, recommended by Eurojust and prosecutors of the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, the work does not end with the collection of testimonies but continues to monitor the appropriate investigative bodies, and to advocate internationally for the inescapable punishment.
People who were compelled to flee the war have not always been in the stable mental condition shortly after the traumatic events to be able to report to the national law-enforcement authorities and document their testimonies. However, after some time in safety in Poland, a person will receive the necessary support from the government and on a personal level, to be able to achieve basic psychological, physical, and economic stabilization in the new reality. Therefore, it is natural that the next urge will be to demand justice that could be possible only after perpetrators are prosecuted on the grounds of documented evidence.
Polish Border Guard Service reported that over the six months into the full-scale invasion, 5,909 mln people relocated from Ukraine to Poland. Although a big number of Ukrainian people are returning home, Poland still hosts quite many of them. In spring, it was 8% of the country’s population. The data was published by the Union of Polish Metropolies that covers 12 major cities. According to this survey, most Ukrainian refugees are concentrated in those large cities, especially in Warsaw. Thus, as of May, 16% of all Ukrainian refugees to Poland stayed in the host country’s capital city.
Thus, a big number of Ukrainian people, even when staying abroad, can help prosecute Russia for the committed aggression. We can achieve justice only when we stay united.