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Columbia Law to Aid Ukraine in International Claims and Reparations

Columbia Law School will advise Ukraine on international claims and reparations as the country continues to battle invading Russian forces.

The law school announced the establishment of the International Claims and Reparations Project (ICRP), which includes a team of scholars and experts who will examine and propose legal frameworks to the Ukraine government on managing international claims and reparations.

“Columbia Law School has a long and proud tradition of leadership in the areas of transnational law, diplomacy, and international dispute resolution,” Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, says. “The opportunity to contribute to the reemergence of a peaceful, prosperous Ukraine is a solemn one, one that underscores the ways in which the law directly affects the lives of individuals around the world.”


International claims commissions are generally established to help resolve claims that arise from international crises of conflicts—in Ukraine’s case, an invasion by Russia.

“States may create international claims commissions to work out post-conflict compensation through a mandatory international judicial process,” according to Just Security. “They may have various motivations for doing so, including obtaining reparations, providing closure, establishing a historical record, and restoring justice and the rule of law.”

In Ukraine’s case, the government needs support of an international claims commission over its current crisis: an armed invasion by Russia.

“The ICRP affords Columbia Law School a precious opportunity to help address the realities of loss in the wake of the invasion and, while doing so, to promote justice at the international level,” George A. Bermann, a Professor of Law at Columbia Law serving on The ICRP, says. “The Law School intends to involve in this work both the law faculty and a select group of students engaged in the relevant research and study.”


Patrick W. Pearsall, a Partner at Allen & Overy and Class of 2005 Columbia Law School grad, has been appointed by the Ukraine president to be an academic adviser on the issues. Pearsall, who will serve as the ICRP’s director, will be supported by five senior fellows including: Columbia Law School Professors George A. Bermann, Lori F. Damrosch, and Matthew C. Waxman, Professor Chiara Giorgetti from the University of Richmond School of Law, and international law expert Jeremy K. Sharpe.

“Supporting the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes is the work of our generation,” Pearsall says. “We are humbled by the responsibility of advising the government of Ukraine on these important questions and are hopeful that the project’s impact will resonate far beyond the present circumstances. We are very grateful to Columbia Law School for its leadership.”

Sources: Columbia Law School, Just Security

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