CEU Names Ukraine 5 AM Coalition Winner of CEU Open Society Prize

June 8, 2022

Vienna, June 9, 2022 – Ukraine 5 AM Coalition has been named the winner of the 2022 CEU Open Society Prize in recognition of their courageous work to document atrocities committed during the Russian war on Ukraine. Representatives of the Coalition will accept the prize at CEU's 31st commencement ceremony in Vienna on June 25. 

The award, given annually to a person or organization of exceptional distinction who serves the ideals of an open society, was first presented to Sir Karl Popper in 1994. Subsequent winners include 2015 Nobel Laurate for Literature Svetlana Alexievich, Medecins Sans Frontiers, seventh Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, and former Minister for Health for Kerala, India, K.K. Shailaja Teacher.  

“On behalf of our coalition and 29 member organizations I would like to thank CEU for this recognition of our work. It is an immense honor for us to receive the CEU Open Society Prize,” said Tetiana Pechonchyk, head of the Human Rights Center ZMINA, member organization of the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition. “Together we aim to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of war crimes. We believe that the tireless and coordinated work of civil society in Ukraine will bring justice sooner.”  

The Russian invasion demonstrated the need for a multifaceted approach to documenting, investigating, and prosecuting perpetrators of war crimes and mass atrocities. “We collaborate in innovative ways with other NGOs and relevant state agencies to enhance coordination between victims and the international community,” added Kateryna Rashevska, lawyer for the Regional Center for Human Rights, a Coalition member. “We seek to help survivors find an effective way to protect their rights, especially the right to the truth.”  

Founded in response to Russia’s military attack on Ukraine this February, the 29-member Ukraine 5 AM Coalition is a group of civil society organizations and individual experts that collect and document war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Russian armed aggression in Ukraine. Many of the Coalition’s members have extensive experience in documenting international crimes and human rights violations committed in the occupied territories of Crimea, parts of Donetsk, and Luhansk regions since 2014, and provided documented data for the Ukrainian law enforcement bodies and international justice mechanisms, including International Criminal Court. 

As a university committed to the values of democracy, peace and justice, CEU stands in solidarity with Ukraine. ln the three decades since its founding, CEU has graduated more than 18,000 students. The CEU community includes nearly a thousand Ukrainian alumni, faculty, staff, and students, to whom the University has extended all possible support since the invasion. Further CEU initiatives to aid academic peers, future students, and those displaced within Ukraine and beyond its borders are described below.  

“By awarding the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition our highest honor, CEU commends the Coalition’s peaceful pursuit of the fundamental open society values of universal justice and human rights. This year’s Open Society Prize is given in recognition of the immense courage Coalition members demonstrate in the face of unimaginable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression. The Coalition’s efforts are crucial for justice to be done for Ukraine and its people,” said CEU President and Rector Shalini Randeria.  

Notes for Editors: 

About CEU 

One of the world’s most international universities, a unique founding mission positions Central European University as both an acclaimed center for the study of economic, historical, social and political challenges, and a source of support for building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and human dignity. CEU is accredited in the United States, Austria, and Hungary. Based in Vienna, it offers English-language bachelor'smaster's and doctoral programs. Budapest locates the non-degree and research arm of the institution: the CEU Democracy Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study, the CEU Summer School and The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (OSA).   

About Ukraine 5 AM Coalition 

Ukraine 5 AM Coalition launched its activity the next day after the beginning of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. It consists of 29 NGOs and 4 experts in international law and human rights. The Coalition focuses its activities on four key areas: documentation of war crimes, analytical and legal work, advocacy at international and national levels, and awareness-building efforts. Its documenting work is based on international standards (e.g. Berkeley Protocol) and national experience in documenting war crimes. Coalition organizations make monitoring visits to document war crimes and crimes against humanity and interview witnesses and victims. For a recent OSCE report that relied on evidence provided by the Coalition, see this article.  

For media enquiries, contact Tetiana Pechonchyk, +38 067 445 95 43, tp@humanrights.org.ua   

CEU’s Ukraine solidarity initiatives 

CEU designed its program Invisible University for Ukraine to provide help for filling the lacunae in education at Ukrainian universities that temporarily emerged due to the Russian military invasion. 

In this article you can read about the CEU community’s work to support students, alumni, faculty, and staff, those at CEU and in Ukraine, as well as temporarily displaced personsaffected by the ongoing military attack on Ukraine.