Wednesday

1st Feb 2023

Almost 15,000 war crime cases already, says Ukraine prosecutor

  • Kyiv is currently investigating almost 15,000 alleged war crimes (Photo: Ukraine foreign ministry)
Listen to article

Ukraine's chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova says they have opened nearly 15,000 war crime cases — with up to 300 new ones emerging daily.

"We have nearly 80 suspects, 80 people whom we can start to prosecute," she told reporters on Tuesday (31 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The comments came following an announcement of an expanding European team of prosecutors, coordinated by the EU's judicial agency, Eurojust.

The Hague-based agency had set up a joint investigation team to probe international crimes within a week after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Current members include Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On Tuesday, it was joined by Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.

It is the largest joint investigation team ever supported by the agency, said Ladislav Hamran, Eurojust president.

"We can fairly conclude that the war in Ukraine will be the most-documented armed conflict we have ever witnessed so far," he said.

The agency will provide funding and technical support like laptops and other equipment needed to collect war crime evidence.

Once collected and centralised at Eurojust, it will then be shared with the team.

"Whatever piece of evidence is collected by these countries is made immediately available," he said.

The team will be working on individual cases. The aim is to make sure they do not overlap, while providing and sharing evidence.

For its part, the ICC says it has deployed 42 experts to work on Ukraine, also its largest team ever.

Another 30 were provided by the Netherlands, including forensic experts and crime scene specialists.

"I will be working towards opening an office in Kyiv," said ICC prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan.

Khan noted that while the ICC is part of the joint investigation team, it will not be obliged to share all its findings.

Poland's national prosecutor Dariusz Bartki said they are also looking at crimes committed by Belarus for having allowed Russia to use it as a military staging ground.

As for evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine, Bartki said they have so far interviewed over 1,100 people.

"Our proceedings entail interviewing the witnesses and victims of these crimes against humanity and war crimes," he said, noting that well over three million Ukrainians have fled to Poland.

Six other EU states have also, in parallel, opened their own investigations into crimes committed in Ukraine.

EU will support investigation into war crimes in Ukraine

The European Commission has pledged to support investigations into potential war crimes in Ukraine — following reports of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in Bucha, Irpin, and other Ukrainian cities.

Rights group documents forcible-transfer war crimes in Ukraine

A new Human Rights Watch report documents how Russia has forcibly transferred Ukrainian citizens from their homes to Russia and Russian-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, a war crime in breach of international law, in a so-called "filtration" process.

Opinion

How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes

A Special Tribunal on Russian war crimes in Ukraine must be convened, because no permanent or existing international judicial institution is endowed with jurisdiction over Russian high-ranking officials, writes the head of the Ukraine delegation to the Council of Europe.

Opinion

On Ukraine Independence Day — a look ahead

Once the hostilities eventually end, the affected parties will have to embark on the process of reconciliation. That requires documenting and prosecuting of Russian war crimes — and for that, we need to support Ukrainian civil society organisations.

Opinion

Why the new ECHR Ukraine-Russia ruling matters

The ECHR ruled that Russia was in "effective control" of separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine from 11 May 2014. In doing so, the court has formally acknowledged the inter-state character of the conflict and Russia's culpability for human rights abuses.

Latest News

  1. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  2. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  3. EU lobby register still riddled with errors
  4. Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk
  5. More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies
  6. Study: EU electricity transition sped into high gear in 2022
  7. Russia and China weaponised pandemic to sow distrust, MEPs hear
  8. Frontex to spend €100m on returning migrants this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us