U-M joins project investigating war crimes in Ukraine

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The University of Michigan’s Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia will collaborate over the next year with The Reckoning Project: Ukraine Testifies to create a “Lasting Memorial” of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The project brings together U-M faculty and students to collate and code data about potential war crimes collected by Ukrainian journalists and researchers. This data will be analyzed for archival and legal purposes, and ultimately contribute to war memorials.

The Reckoning Project: Ukraine Testifies is a non-governmental organization that includes journalists and legal experts that strives to bridge the gap between accessible but accurate war reporting and admissible legal evidence.

Co-founded by Janine di Giovanni, a war reporter and investigator with more than 35 years of experience, and Peter Pomerantsev, a Ukrainian-born journalist and an expert on disinformation and propaganda, The Reckoning Project pursues two main goals:

  • To record and disseminate Ukrainians’ stories to international audiences, to ensure the world remains engaged and informed about Russia’s aggression.
  • To collect and verify evidence for justice and accountability processes, including the International Criminal Court or national courts.

To achieve both goals, the project is partnering with WCEE under the direction of primary investigator Geneviève Zubrzycki, professor of sociology and WCEE director. The Reckoning Project at WCEE will include teams focused on research, law, translation and memory.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world, drawing attention even from those not invested in the region,” Zubrzycki said. “This collaboration stands to bring attention to war crimes happening in the heart of Europe, and U-M students and faculty experts who assist the project not only stand to assist this effort, but also learn valuable skills through their research.”

The Reckoning Project at WCEE publicly launched Sept. 21 with a lecture by di Giovanni titled, “Investigative Journalists and the Documentation of War Crimes.” She shared her experiences as a war correspondent, author and educator to highlight the challenges of human rights violations and other abuses against civilian populations in conflict areas, including Ukraine.

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