The Reckoning Project
We combine the power of story-telling and legal accountability to fight for justice, safeguard rights, and restore truth in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Our team has learned first hand that in too many horrifying conflicts, national and international courts have dismissed testimonies collected by journalists due to discrepancies between legal and journalistic modes of investigation.
The Reckoning Project: Ukraine Testifies will close this gap by training high-performing conflict journalists and researchers to gather legally admissible testimonies so that the voices of victims may be heard inside the courts of law.
Today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seeks to destroy Ukraine’s right to exist. It attacks Ukrainians’ right to security and sovereignty – their identity, their memory, and their ability to define their own future. It attacks Ukraine as a legal entity and as a people.
In such a war, we need to fight for justice both in the court of public opinion and the courts of law.
The Reckoning Project aims to ensure that as the war retreats from the front pages, justice in all its forms is not forgotten.
Members of our award-winning team of multimedia journalists, documentary filmmakers, academics, lawyers, and war crimes researchers have worked in Syria, Chechnya, Rwanda, and Bosnia. We know from bitter experience how easy it is for justice to slip away, with disastrous consequences for sustainable peace and historical memory. Disinformation and dictators triumph all too often. We are here to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Ensuring the power of story
Our team combines the in-country knowledge of Ukrainian researchers on the front lines of the war, with archivists, legal advisors, and editors in the EU, UK, and US.
Our researchers are trained to collect testimonies in line with legal standards so that courts will not have the chance to throw them out. The testimonies are then verified, formatted, and archived for future use in court. In this process, our legal advisors are also finding patterns in the testimonies to build legal theories around them.
Our testimonies also feed into long-form multimedia projects for Ukrainian and international publications that will ensure attention on the war does not fade. Topics we are developing include the forced deportation of children, indiscriminate bombing of civilians and the executions of elected officials, among others.
Our editorial mission is to go beyond “breaking news” to put Russia’s crimes in context.
We will show that the war and occupation in Ukraine are part of a consistent approach that deliberately attacks civilians, dismantles democratic institutions, and destroys cultural traditions.
The Kremlin has waged similar wars in Chechnya and Syria during Putin’s regime, and historically throughout Europe. Putin is once again employing horrific war tactics to intentionally dismiss international law in his favor, in what our co-founder and co-director Janine Di Giovanni has coined "Putin's Playbook."
We are working with the University of Michigan to create a ‘Lasting Memorial’ of the conflict for historians. This could take the form of documentary film projects, photography exhibitions, or other cultural projects. The Reckoning Project will be a vital force in providing accurate and indisputable recollections of the events unfolding in Ukraine.