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Monday, March 20, 2023

Germany’s prosecutor’s office urged to investigate Russian military crimes in Ukraine

Germany’s attorney general said on Sunday (February 5th) that his office had collected hundreds of pieces of evidence testifying to war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine. Peter Frank’s office has called for an international effort to bring the guilty leaders to justice.

“At the moment we are investigating the Bucha massacres and attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine,” Peter Frank said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper. He noted that most of the evidence came from interviews with Ukrainian refugees.

According to the prosecutor, it is now a question of “preparing for a possible trial that will take place later – whether in Germany or with our foreign partners, or before an international court”.

As noted by France-Presse, Frank’s office has previously used the principle of universal jurisdiction, allowing certain serious crimes to be investigated regardless of where they were committed. This principle has been applied in the procedures against Syrian citizens – in the event of brutal reprisals during the civil war in that country.

On the same principle, a group of Myanmar nationals filed a criminal complaint in Germany accusing members of their country’s army of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Peter Frank noted that his department began investigating the Ukraine-related events in March last year.

Last month, German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock called for the establishment of a tribunal to hold Russia accountable for the war with Ukraine, given that the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has launched its own investigation last year, cannot prosecute the Russians for certain war crimes, since neither Russia nor Ukraine itself is a state party to the ICC.

In the Kiev suburb of Bucha alone, after the withdrawal of the Russian army in March last year, hundreds of corpses were found, according to the testimonies of local authorities and journalists. These killings drew international condemnation and accusations of war crimes. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killings of civilians, calling what is happening “provocative and staged”.

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