EU initiates support for Ukraine in investigating war crimes

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Editor : Gülcan Ayboğan

Bloc to send experts, material to document evidence, extend mandate of Eurojust agency

EU initiates support for Ukraine in investigating war crimes

The European Union has initiated support for Ukraine to investigate alleged war crimes, an EU official said on Wednesday.

“Europe is going to do everything in order to carry out an independent investigation on war crimes in Ukraine,” European Commission’s deputy chief spokeswoman Dana Spinant told reporters.

She recalled the promise made by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell during their visit in Ukraine last week.

“A joint investigation team has been set up with Ukraine to collect evidence and investigate war crimes which will also cooperate with the International Criminal Court,” said Christian Wigand, the EU executive body’s spokesman on justice affairs.

He explained that the EU has already provided experts and equipment for Ukraine, and dedicated a €7.5-million ($8.1-million) project to support investigations by ensuring large data collection processes.

Following the request of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, EU member states were also asked by EU Commissioner Didier Reynders to raise their cooperation on the matter and to support the work in a letter sent on Tuesday.

EU member states were invited to send “investigators to document war crimes, experts with forensic expertise, equipment for the secure storage of evidence, secure lines of communication, or on-the-job training for investigators,” Wigand added.

He also revealed that the European Commission will soon present a proposal extending the mandate of the Eurojust, an EU agency responsible for judicial cooperation between EU member states on criminal matters.

The amendment will authorize Eurojust, which already has experience in international crimes to collect and store evidence on war crimes, especially audio and video recordings.

“There can be no impunity. Those responsible for the atrocities and war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable, and we will do everything possible towards this goal,” Wigand said.

Over 3,000 criminal proceedings have been opened for crimes committed by Russian troops in the Kyiv region since Russia launched the war on Feb. 24, according to Ukrainian authorities.

At least 1,892 civilians have been killed and 2,558 injured in Ukraine since the start of the war, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be much higher.

More than 4.6 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, the UN refugee agency said.

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