Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov has appeaedl to member countries of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group with a request to delegate experts in military justice who will help with work on specific cases of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
According to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, he is convinced that bringing criminals to justice should become part of the joint efforts of the international coalition counteracting Russian aggression.
“That is why I am initiating an appeal through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the participating countries of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group [known in Ukraine as the Ramstein format] with a request to delegate experts in military justice, experts in combating war crimes. The goal is to create international groups that will help work on specific cases of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, as well as analyze the practical aspects of punishing war crimes committed during a war containing many hybrid elements,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday morning.
In his opinion, coordination in the sphere of punishment of Russian criminals can be an important addition to the work on providing assistance with weapons, in which Ramstein, thanks to the leadership of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, has already shown results.
In addition, Reznikov appealed through the Foreign Ministry to the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Robert Spano, about the need to interpret Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, taking into account the current conditions and circumstances of the terrible crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukrainian prisoners of war. In particular, in the context of consideration of a specific case of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the decision on which may become an indicator in the consideration of other cases, the minister noted.
Reznikov stressed that the responsibility of the Russians for war crimes would be irreversible. Thus, the Defense Forces of Ukraine issued a joint statement on Friday to draw the attention of the world to the situation of Ukrainian prisoners of war, primarily the defenders of Mariupol.
“I have no doubt that after Ukraine’s victory in this war, we will in one way or another ‘catch’ each of those involved in the barbaric murders and abuses. Representatives of the Ukrainian defense forces have repeatedly and very clearly spoken out about this. Sooner or later, but this will happen. At the same time, our response must be not only principled, but also systematic,” the Minister of Defense added.
According to him, an important component of combating war crimes should be a demonstration that the punishment will be irreversible and not limited in time.
However, as Reznikov said, in order for this to become a reality, it is necessary “with a cool head to propose a system of legal measures to respond to war crimes during the war, which Europe has not seen for 80 years, and which contains elements that may not be fully covered by the current rules of law.”
He noted that the crime of the Russian Federation in Olenivka, in addition to the reaction of such institutions as the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the ECHR, requires a decisive reaction from the UN, since we are talking about a conscious disregard for recognized international legal customs, to which, according to the UN Security Council resolution of 1993, all Geneva Conventions belong.
“It is the UN that should force the Russian Federation to allow representatives of the Red Cross to the Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka,” the minister wrote.
The Minister of Defense also stated that the only chance for saving at least some prospect for the relevant persons in the Russian Federation is to immediately stop participating in criminal aggression and mitigate the consequences by concrete actions.
“After another brutal act by the Russian occupiers or after a public outrage against our soldiers like a ‘trial’ that they planned to commit in Mariupol, the chances of dissociating themselves from this barbarism are decreasing and the risks of taking full responsibility are increasing,” he stressed.
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