Ukrainian Advocate Calling for Russia Tribunal Announced as Rights Summit Speaker

GENEVA, March 31, 2022 – A cross-regional coalition of over 25 human rights NGOs announced today that Olga Aivazovska, a displaced Ukrainian civil society leader and one of the chief advocates for a special tribunal on Russian war crimes, will speak at the 14th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. The announcement comes a day after UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Russia may be committing war crimes in Ukraine, in her strongest comments on the conflict yet.

Aivazovska recently escaped Ukraine with her 11-year-old son, leaving her husband in the country to fight. She has since become a key advocate calling for Putin to be held accountable for war crimes, and has started documenting Russian atrocities through interviews with refugees crossing the border into Poland.

Prior to the invasion, Aivazovska was chair of Ukrainian civil society network Opora. She participated in talks to resolve the conflict in the Donbas from 2016 to 2018 and was consistently named one of the top 100 most influential women in Ukraine.

Aivazovska will be joined at the Geneva Summit by 20 other champions of human rights, who will all tell compelling personal stories of arrest and imprisonment by the world’s worst regimes. Speakers include Chief of Staff to Alexei Navalny, Leonid Volkov; NBA player turned human rights activist, Enes Kanter Freedom; and the youngest female mayor in Afghanistan’s history, Zarifa Ghafari.

Also announced as speakers this week are Ugandan pop-star turned presidential candidate Bobi Wine, and wife of imprisoned Nicaraguan opposition leader Félix Maradiaga, Berta Valle.

Sponsored by a coalition of over 25 rights organizations including Liberal International and the Human Rights Foundation, the Geneva Summit will take place at the CICG in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 6, 2022.

For media inquiries, please contact Pat Rose at

Also announced this week as Geneva Summit speakers:

  • Bobi Wine, Ugandan opposition leader and presidential candidate held under house arrest after contesting the 2021 election.
  • Berta Valle, Journalist and wife to imprisoned Nicaraguan activist Félix Maradiaga who was unjustly arrested in June 2021.

For a full program, click here.


War Crimes

The War in Ukraine: An Eyewitness Account with Olga Aivazovska

Forcibly displaced Ukrainian civil society leader and Chair of the NGO Opora, Olga Aivazovska, speaks at the 14th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks. On the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “There is nothing special about me, my only superpower is that I’m Ukrainian.”

War Crimes

Diary of an Invasion: Eyewitness to Russia’s War on Ukraine with Andrey Kurkov

Highly-acclaimed Russian-born Ukrainian novelist known for his unwavering criticism of Vladimir Putin who reported on the situation on the ground in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, Andrey Kurkov, addresses the 15th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for his remarks. Full Remarks Do I have the right to be tired

War Crimes

Resisting Aggression: The Resilience of Ukraine with Lisa Yasko

Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Lisa Yasko, addresses the 16th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for her remarks. Full Remarks: Dear friends, dear colleagues, I’m very glad to be here in Geneva. And you know, two days ago when I was flying here and I