The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) is urging displaced Ukrainians in Australia who have witnessed or experienced Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine to come forward and confidentially share their story with legal experts from Project Sunflower.
Commissioned by the AFUO earlier this year, Project Sunflower will provide information collected from witnesses to authorities such as the International Criminal Court or the Ukrainian Prosecutor, to assist in bringing the perpetrators of atrocities and war crimes to justice.
Mr Stefan Romaniw, AFUO Co-Chair, said today “We cannot remain silent. Please come forward if you have personally witnessed or experienced atrocities. Share your story. By doing so, you can help to secure justice.”
Who is running Project Sunflower?
The AFUO commissioned Project Sunflower earlier this year to gather evidence about Russian war crimes committed during Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. Lawyers William Lye OAM KC and Cheri Ong lead a growing team of multidisciplinary experts running the project.
Why should witnesses consider providing information?
Information from witnesses will assist authorities investigate or prosecute war crimes.
Claims heard in criminal tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court or the Ukrainian Prosecutor) often hinge on a prosecutor’s ability to access evidence. They depend on states to provide them with evidence or access to evidence. The information witnesses provide will facilitate an effective and fair trial, with the aim of holding perpetrators accountable.
What information is being sought?
Project Sunflower wants to hear from people in Australia who have personally witnessed or experienced atrocities and crimes committed in Ukraine during the course of the full-scale Russian invasion.
Photos, audio, video evidence, or testimony may assist in the investigation or prosecution of crimes.
How can witnesses share information?
What will Project Sunflower do with the information provided?
Information, in de-identified form (i.e., without the name, date of birth, contact details or other identifying particulars of witnesses) might be shared with third parties, particularly authorities investigating serious crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the event that an investigative authority is interested in speaking with a witness further, the AFUO will contact the witness to seek permission to provide information. Project Sunflower will not provide any information without the consent of the witness.
If you are affected and need help?
Please call Foundation House on (03) 9389 8900 (free service).