Ukraine suspects 600 of war crimes; More countries join investigation with ICC
Ukraine has registered 15,000 war crimes since the start of the war. Every day, 200 to 300 new cases are added, said Ukrainian chief prosecutor Irina Venediktova. More than 600 suspects are being investigated for the crimes. About 80 of them could soon be prosecuted in Ukraine.
Venediktova gave a press conference at Eurojust in The Hague on Tuesday. "We have a great need for experts on the ground who can collect evidence, and experts in international law. The prosecutors in Ukraine are experienced, because there has been a war in our country since 2014. But the numbers of war crimes are now so high that we need more people," said Venediktova.
Estonia, Latvia, and Slovakia are joining an international investigation into war crimes allegedly committed during the war in Ukraine. The joint investigation team (JIT) already includes Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The cooperation is expected to lead to the prosecution of more suspects.
Russia invaded the neighboring country of Ukraine in late February. Since then, reports have emerged of mass graves, people summarily executed, and rapes committed by Russian military personnel, including in Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
Ukraine has already started to try Russians for war crimes. Last week, a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment in Ukraine for shooting an unarmed civilian. Two other Russians were sentenced to 11.5 years in prison on Tuesday for shelling the city of Kharkiv.
Ukraine is also investigating deportations in the Donbas. Venediktova said she has no access to the region, but receives verified information by interviewing residents and refugees.
The Netherlands is sending a few dozen officers from the Marechaussee to Ukraine to help the investigation. They will collect evidence for the International Criminal Court. The chief prosecutor for the ICC, Karim Khan, expects that the Dutch military branch will eventually be relieved by investigative teams from other countries, he said at the press conference.
The European judicial organization Eurojust called the war in Ukraine "the most documented armed conflict in history." Poland said that the alleged war crimes have now been discussed with about 1,100 people. To aid the investigation, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor will soon open an office in Kyiv.
Reporting by ANP