Lawyer Volodymyr Vasylenko, the author of the legal assessment of the Holodomor as a genocide, has passed away

9 October 2023

On the morning of October 9, at the age of 87, Volodymyr Andriyovych Vasylenko, Ukrainian jurist-internationalist, diplomat, honoured lawyer of Ukraine, doctor of legal sciences, professor, author of the legal assessment of the Holodomor as a genocide, passed away.

His daughter Lesia Vasylenko announced the sad news on Facebook: “Today at 08:10 in the morning, the heart of my father, Volodymyr Andriyovych Vasylenko, stopped beating. He left this world at the age of 86. Your body has gone to rest. Your spirit will live on. In us, your children, grandchildren, in the generations of Ukrainians whom you taught, inspired and brought up. You lived a worthy, fulfilling life. Your example will always be a support for me.”

Volodymyr Andriyovych was an employee of our Museum for several years, worked on researching the legal aspects of the Holodomor-genocide, and with the beginning of the large-scale invasion – on the justification of the genocidal nature of Russian aggression. “Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine has all the signs of the crime of genocide and has a genocidal character,” he emphasized. – But to qualify as a crime, it is necessary to prove a specific intention. That is the destruction of not a certain number of representatives of the national group but the group as such. And there is a difficulty in this.” And that is why Ukraine should prepare for a long legal battle to prove this intention.

Volodymyr Vasylenko was born in Kyiv on January 16, 1937. He received his higher education at Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University and immediately graduated from postgraduate studies in international law. Until Ukraine regained its independence, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine as a scientific consultant on legal issues.
It was Volodymyr Vasylenko who, in 1990, presented the very first draft of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine and continued to work on creating the final version of it. And already in our time, he made a lot of efforts to prepare and adopt the law on the use of the Ukrainian language as the state language.

In different years, Volodymyr Andriyovych was the ambassador to the Benelux countries, as well as the representative of Ukraine to the European Union and NATO. In 1998-2002, he was ambassador to Great Britain and part-time to Ireland.

In 2001, he was elected by the UN General Assembly to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he had worked as a judge until January 2005. From 2006 to 2010, he was the representative of Ukraine at the UN Human Rights Council. In 2008, he represented the interests of Ukraine at the UN International Court of Justice during the Romania v. Ukraine case. In 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine elected Volodymyr Vasylenko as one of the three auditors of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

In 2009, Volodymyr Vasylenko’s book “The Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as a Crime of Genocide. Legal assessment”. The lawyer’s expert opinions were later used in the criminal case against the organizers of the Holodomor in Ukraine.

We sincerely thank you for many years of work for the benefit and image of Ukraine.

Our condolences on this loss… Bright memory…

Photo – Hanna Hrabarska, UP, source – Detector Media.