Britain is helping to train Ukrainian judges on how to try Russian soldiers suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine, with criminals able to be prosecuted at “an unprecedented scale.”

With the first batch of Ukrainian judges already having attended training sessions at a secret location, more sessions are due to take place in the coming months.

Speaking to Sky News on Dec. 14, British Attorney General Victoria Prentis confirmed that £2.5m has so far been invested into the scheme, and assured that the intensive training would allow the prosecution of Russian war criminals to be carried out more efficiently while the war continues.

“They [Ukrainian judges] are prosecuting war crimes in real time,” Prentis said. “This is a live and very brutal conflict.


“Ukraine is managing with all the difficulties that we know are going on in the country at the moment, with things like power and organizing courts to try war crimes.

“This is very important, obviously because justice is important, but also because I hope that those Russian soldiers and officers who are watching the Ukrainian prosecutions at the moment will realize that they must act in accordance with international law.”

Prentis said that 90 judges would be able to “go back [to Ukraine] after some really intensive training, better able to run those courts.”

Scale of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine

Over 50,000 reported war crimes have been registered since Russia illegally invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, with the UN and other organizations continuing to document cases of widespread rape, torture, and summary executions of civilians committed by Russian troops.

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In one horrific case alone, the body of a seven-year-old girl exhumed from a mass grave in Bucha was discovered to have seven different traces of sperm believed to belong to different Russian soldiers, Natalia Nestor, deputy director of Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise told British Newspaper the Daily Express earlier this week.


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights documented a series of unlawful killings and summary executions of innocent civilians in Bucha, with forensic evidence proving that many had been lined up with their hands tied behind their backs before being shot at point-blank range.

Talking to Human Rights Watch (HRW) following the retreat of Russian troops, Bucha residents recounted widespread abuses of the types mentioned above, carried out by Russian soldiers.

“Russian soldiers went door to door, questioning people, destroying their possessions and looting their clothes to wear for themselves,” HRW reported. “Civilians were fired upon when leaving their homes for food and water and would be ordered back into their homes by Russian troops, despite a lack of basic necessities such as water and heat due to the destruction of local infrastructure.

“There were also reports that Russian armed vehicles would arbitrarily fire into buildings in the city and that Russian troops refused medical aid to injured civilians. A mass grave was dug for local victims, and the troops carried out extrajudicial executions.”


Similar crimes have been committed by Russian soldiers across Ukraine, however, to date, only 14 Russian soldiers have been convicted, with the first trial being carried out in May.

The Hague’s International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes in Ukraine remains open, however, President Zelensky has called for a special tribunal to run alongside it, which he compared to the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II.

“I’m sure that the vast majority of these war crimes will be tried by Ukrainian judges in Ukraine, where the witnesses and the evidence are,” Prentis added. “But I’m also sure the international community will want to have a moment where justice is done, and seen to be done. We don’t yet know exactly what form that will take. All options are on the table.”


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