Ukraine has been the location of unspeakable crimes by Russian occupiers: Justice for victims is a top priority, says the Ukrainian General Prosecutor

This past Spring, as Russian forces were pushed back from the areas north of Kyiv, such as Irpin and Bucha, tales of Russia’s sadistic occupation began to come to light. The stories of rape, torture, plundering and wanton murder shocked the world.

The General Prosecutor of Ukraine has said that the prosecution of those responsible for the reprehensible actions was a central issue for Ukraine’s leadership – one that is being actively pursued by international partners.

In a message on Telegram, the Prosecutor General indicated when speaking to international partners that he had “stressed, once again, that the creation of a special international tribunal to bring to justice the highest military and political leadership of the aggressor is a central issue for Ukraine. The European Commissioner assured that he was open to discussing this possibility.”

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The nation’s top prosecutor indicated that there were already consultations being undertaken with some of the world’s experts in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A wide number of international bodies have expressed support for deepening the investigation into the alleged crimes in Ukraine, including the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court.

Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, when visiting Kyiv in June, made it known that all in Ukraine :have fundamental rights which must be vindicated even during a time of war.  I told them that my Office was acting with urgency to demonstrate to all those involved in this conflict that they have responsibilities under international law to which there are no exceptions.”

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Khan issued a stark warning that “Every person who picks up a gun, drives a tank or launches a missile should know that they can be held accountable where crimes are committed.  My team is already working extensively on the ground in Ukraine and we will continue to engage with all partners to identify alleged crimes falling within our jurisdiction and uncover the truth.”

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Coordinating between the many organizations interested in prosecuting war crimes has proven to be challenging. A conference held earlier this year grappled with how best to share information, evidence, and to best execute the criminal investigations. Acknowledging this, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General said that “National investigations in Ukraine and other countries, a joint investigation team, Task Force for the search, arrest and confiscation of assets, expert groups and cooperation with the International Criminal Court should move in the same direction.”

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