Ukraine appoints 10 Russians accused of war crimes in Bucha 2022-04-29 03:18:21


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Ukrainian authorities have pushed ahead with efforts to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in the Kyiv suburb of Buka, even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the alleged perpetrators may never face justice.

Prosecutors filed their first war crimes charges Thursday against 10 Russian soldiers accused of torturing civilians and holding them hostage on the outskirts of the capital. The Russians are not in custody, charges were brought in absentia to Ukrainian courts.

Mervyn Cheung, a law professor at the National University of Singapore who also serves as an advisor to the International Criminal Court, said the decision signals Kyiv’s determination to hold Moscow to account and its determination to ensure that the voices of victims and their families are heard.

Kremlin forces withdrew from the Kyiv region in early April as Russia refocused its invasion in southern and eastern Ukraine. Since then, proof atrocities In Bucha it has sparked a worldwide outcry. Investigators and journalists documented signs of torture and mutilation on the bodies of the dead on the city streets, as well as the mass graves of residents.

Zelensky said Thursday that the Russian soldiers are part of the 64th Guards Mechanized Brigade, announced by President Vladimir Putin. Recently honored Republican decision. We know every detail about them and their actions. …None of those will evade responsibility, said Zelensky.

But Zelensky later added that it may be difficult to hold brigade members responsible because they have been deployed to the eastern battlefield, where the fighting is fierce. There they will take revenge on our army, he said.

Video reporter Joyce Koh visited Bucha, Ukraine, where authorities still found bodies weeks after Russian forces withdrew from the area. (Video: Joyce Koh, Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

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Stephen Freeland, an expert on international law at Western Sydney University, said it was highly unlikely that Russian forces would be prosecuted in Ukraine, but that it was still beneficial for Kyiv to pursue legal proceedings.

He said the move could increase pressure on Moscow and allow Kiev to establish more credibility in its claims. “if I were [accusing] Others who completely violate the rule of law, you don’t want to be seen as establishing a process that ignores the rule of law.”

Russian authorities have He denied any wrongdoing in Bucha while dismissing gruesome evidence as fraudulent. But legal investigations into possible Russian atrocities in Ukraine are accelerating. The International Criminal Court, with the support of more than thirty countries, has launched a file investigation process On March 2, while Washington has He said he’s helping Kyiv collect evidence that could be used to target Russian leaders.

On Thursday, an arm of the Council of Europe called on its 46 member states to create an international criminal court to investigate and adjudicate alleged war crimes ordered by top Russian officials.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova reported that all 10 service members identified on Thursday are relatively low-ranking, the largest of whom were non-commissioned officers.

Cheung, the professor in Singapore, said the charges being brought against them may be a reflection of evidence collected by authorities. He said eyewitness testimony, for example, would be more readily available to lower-ranking individuals who were on the ground.

Paulina Villegas contributed to this report.