Empowering Legal Clinics: Training for War-Related Legal Challenges in Ukraine
Empowering Legal Clinics: Training for War-Related Legal Challenges in Ukraine

Within the project “Strengthening the Capacity of Legal Clinics in Ensuring Access to Justice Under Martial Law”, implemented with the support of the USAID’s Justice for All Activity the Association of Legal Clinics (ALCU) initiated the establishment of a specialized legal clinic addressing issues related to war. The mission of this clinic, affiliated with Sumy State University, is to assist Ukrainians in matters concerning the reparations and compensation for property damage resulting from the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

To build the capacity of the specialized legal clinic and provide methodological and organizational support to legal clinics in Ukraine dealing with war-related issues, ALCU conducted an intensive Training of Trainers (ToT) course for leaders and staff of legal clinics. The course took place online from November 14 to December 7, 2023.

Over the course of several weeks, ToT participants attended eight online workshops led by Ukrainian and foreign experts. These workshops aimed to thoroughly examine various aspects of specialized legal clinic activities and enhance participants’ knowledge and teaching and implementation skills in their legal clinics.

The workshop, conducted by Marta Tsymbala, an IT lawyer and knowledge maker at Bot&Partners, focused on technologies in the operation of specialized legal clinics and how they can make their activities more effective.

Participants had the opportunity to learn more about the ethical principles of the specialized legal clinic’s activities in times of armed conflict during a workshop led by Stephen Austermiller, Deputy Executive Director, Rule of Law
Collaborative, University of South Carolina, and Gregory Gisvold, Senior Researcher, Rule of Law Collaborative, University of South Carolina. They also conducted a workshop dedicated to legal clinic public awareness activities.

Stephen Austermiller and Asma Peracha, Program Manager, Rule of Law Collaborative, University of South Carolina, focused on consulting as a method of providing legal assistance during their workshop.

Ivan Horodyskyi, a lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University and a member of the Board of the Lviv Center for International Law and Human Rights, discussed key aspects of compensation for damaged or destroyed property due to armed conflict.

Serhii Movchan, a lawyer and head of the Documentation Department of War Crimes at the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, shared his experience in representing clients’ interests in government bodies and other areas.

Workshops by Jeffrey Walker, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and expert in international humanitarian law and post-conflict justice, and Dmytro Koval, a lecturer at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and legal director of Truth Hounds, covered the main principles of international humanitarian law and its application.

The establishment of facts with legal significance in times of armed conflict was discussed in a panel discussion with Jeffrey Walker and Anna Rassamakhina, a lawyer and head of the advocacy department at the NGO “Crimea SOS.”

Throughout the course, participants engaged in practical tasks, discussions, and exchanged thoughts and experiences on various aspects of legal clinic activities in times of armed conflict. Over 30 participants acquired the necessary knowledge to ensure the operation of legal clinics dealing with legal issues arising from the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

The training was organized within the ALCU project “Strengthening the Capacity of Legal Clinics in Ensuring Access to Justice Under Martial Law,” implemented with the support of the USAID’s Justice for All Activity.

Empowering Legal Clinics: Training for War-Related Legal Challenges in Ukraine
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