Newly appointed Special Rapporteur on War Crimes in Ukraine announces side event for Birmingham Annual Session

160622 John WhittingdaleJohn WhittingdaleCOPENHAGEN, 16 June 2022 – John Whittingdale, Head of the United Kingdom’s Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, has been appointed by Assembly President Margareta Cederfelt as Special Rapporteur on War Crimes in Ukraine.

“I am proud to have been asked by President Cederfelt to become the OSCE PA Special Rapporteur on War Crimes in Ukraine,” Whittingdale said. “It is of vital importance that any instances of war crimes in Ukraine are properly documented, and the perpetrators held to account.”

With a mandate to advance investigations in bodies related to the OSCE and other international organizations, Special Rapporteur Whittingdale’s first activity will be the holding of a side event during next month’s Annual Session in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The panel will include a UK Government representative, an expert in preventing sexual violence in conflict and an expert in international accountability mechanisms.

“I will begin my programme of work at the Assembly’s Annual Session in Birmingham where I will hold a side event with President Cederfelt, hearing from experts on preventing sexual violence in conflict and on accountability mechanisms,” Whittingdale explained. “I will then collect further evidence with the aim of presenting a full report to the Assembly at the Annual Session in Vancouver in July 2023. I will endeavour to provide updates at the Autumn and Winter Meetings. I welcome the input of all colleagues in the Parliamentary Assembly into this piece of work.”

In appointing the Special Rapporteur, President Cederfelt noted the importance of pursuing accountability in punishing those who launch aggressive wars and enable war crimes, both for the sake of justice for the victims and for the principle of deterrence.

“We simply cannot afford to allow aggressive war to be carried out unchecked,” Cederfelt said, pointing out that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been widely condemned by the international community. “If we allow one country to attack another country in violation of international law and fail to hold accountable those who commit war crimes, we ensure that these crimes will be repeated. This cannot be allowed to happen in the 21st century.”

As Special Rapporteur, Whittingdale is mandated to report on war crimes perpetrated in connection with the military hostilities in Ukraine and report back any information about the allegations thereof during meetings of the OSCE PA, as well as any progress made by the relevant judicial bodies that seek to hold the perpetrators of war crimes accountable.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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