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Thursday, March 23, 2023

EU seeks ways to bring those responsible for aggression and war crimes in Ukraine to justice

The European Union wants those implicated in the heinous crimes committed in Ukraine to be quickly held accountable, EU justice ministers said on Friday. This point of view is shared by all the member countries of the European Union, while opinions on the methods of bringing the perpetrators to justice, of finding evidence and of redressing damages diverge.

27 EU justice ministers met in Stockholm ahead of the anniversary of the start of large-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Kiev reported heavy fighting in the east of the country on Friday, just after Western countries pledged to supply Ukraine with modern tanks for the first time.

“In any case, responsibility must be taken for the terrible international crimes and the brutality of what we see in Ukraine… [Это] clear and manifest war crimes,” said Simon Harris, Irish Attorney General.

The ministers discussed the collection of evidence and the creation of a new international tribunal to prosecute those involved in the aggression against Ukraine.

“None of those who have committed these kinds of war crimes should go free. It is imperative that we find a way to bring these people to justice, said Gunnar Strommer, Sweden’s Minister of Justice. “The question is how can we effectively manage this in practice.”

The head of the Slovak Ministry of Justice spoke out against the creation of a prosecution court, which his Belgian counterpart had previously called for.

“These acts of aggression must be condemned not only by European countries or the United States, but by the vast majority of countries… in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere,” said Vincent Van Kuikkenborn. .

The administration of justice will almost certainly be a long and complex process.

A special court set up in the Netherlands to prosecute those responsible for the crash of the Boeing MH17 airliner shot down in the skies of eastern Ukraine in July 2014 only handed down its decision in November 2022. The court found two Russians and a Ukrainian man guilty in absentia and sentenced them to life imprisonment for helping to transport a Russian missile system used to attack the plane. All 298 people on board were killed.

However, efforts to prosecute three people of rather low social status pale in comparison to what it will take to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin and the military leaders implicated in the aggression against Ukraine to justice.

Since the invasion, which began 11 months ago, Russia has diverted attention from its rhetoric of “denazification” and “demilitarization” of a neighboring country to confronting what the Kremlin calls the plans ” aggressive and expansionist” of the US-led NATO. Alliance.

The invasion resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians, millions of refugees and the destruction of many Ukrainian cities. Attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including energy installations, are possible war crimes, according to the United Nations.

Moscow, which says it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine, denies deliberately targeting civilians or committing other war crimes.

The EU is also considering using Russian assets frozen under sanctions to offset losses suffered by Ukraine, and this issue was also discussed at today’s meeting. According to the European Union, about $37 billion of the approximately $300 billion held by the Russian Central Bank and frozen abroad is currently frozen in its jurisdiction. According to the EU representative, these estimates are preliminary.

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