Russian war crimes: “The perpetrators will not get away”


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Status: 04.03.2023 1:45 p.m

Ukraine is urging Russia to take responsibility for its war of aggression. Initial preparations are made at an international conference in Lviv. The US and EU reiterated their support.

Ukraine has been trying for months to form an international court modeled on the Nuremberg tribunal for Nazi war criminals with its supporters. Before that, leading representatives of Moscow should answer for the war against the neighboring country. Prosecutors general and justice ministers from various countries have been dealing with this topic at an international conference in Lviv since Friday.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland also made a surprise visit. “We are in Ukraine today to say clearly and with one voice: the perpetrators of these crimes will not go unpunished,” he said, referring to “Russian war criminals.”

The United States stands with Ukraine’s war crimes investigators. Since the invasion began a year ago, Russia has committed atrocities on the greatest scale of any conflict since World War II.

Zelenskyj: Hold the perpetrators accountable

“We are gathering maximum support for the tribunal on Russian aggression against Ukraine,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that the International Criminal Court is successful in punishing Russian war criminals and that our national law enforcement and judicial authorities ensure fair trials for all Russian murderers and torturers.”

As the Ukrainian Attorney General Andriy Kostin announced on Twitter, the United States wants to work with a joint investigative team to investigate war crimes in Ukraine. The group includes Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania and the International Criminal Court. US Attorney General Garland signed a statement to that effect, Kostin said.

Crime Prosecution Center established

According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an agreement on the establishment of a new International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA) will also be signed at the conference. It is intended to secure evidence for future court proceedings and will be located at the location of the EU agency Eurojust in The Hague. Eurojust is responsible for judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the Union.

“We must do everything in our power to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said von der Leyen. The EU supports the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

EU for special tribunal

In addition, however, one is of the opinion that there must be a separate court for the prosecution of the Russian crime of aggression. A first step is the establishment of the new international center in The Hague.

The EU Commission explained its commitment to a court of its own by saying that the International Criminal Court cannot intervene in the case of aggressive crimes committed by the highest political and military leadership in Russia, since Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court.

Therefore, setting up several other options will now be discussed. The ICPA is a first step in this process to secure evidence for future trials. According to the EU, the “United for Justice” conference will continue until Sunday.

Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Friday that the central issue was the responsibility of Russia and its leadership for aggression and terror against Ukraine.

Office of the ICC planned in Ukraine

According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Kostin, Ukraine paved the way for an office of the International Criminal Court.

The cabinet approved a corresponding agreement negotiated with the ICC. This will “allow the opening of an office of the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court in Ukraine in the near future”. This will enable the court to conduct better investigations.

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