Tuesday, 13 September ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 13 September ‘22

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 13 September, 2022

Investigations Begin in Newly-Liberated Territories

Ukrainian law enforcement officers have begun documenting Russian crimes against the civilian population in the newly liberated territories of the Kharkiv region, according to the ministry of internal affairs of Ukraine.

“Police and the prosecutor's office immediately started working in the liberated territories,” said Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of the national police in the Kharkiv region, adding that some cases of torture and murder had already been recorded. 

Prosecutors have already opened a war crimes investigation after the bodies of four civilians showing signs of torture were found in the village of Zaliznychne in the Kharkhiv region area. Locals said that the individuals had been killed by Russian soldiers.

"On September 11, law enforcement officers discovered four bodies. All of them show signs of torture," the prosecutors said in a statement released on Facebook.
"Three of them were buried near private houses, the other one was found on the territory of the asphalt factory.”

Reparations Already Amount to at Least 300 Billion US Dollars

Ukraine wants to seek reparations from Russia for the amount of at least 300 billion US dollars. 

"We want to receive compensation for all the damages that Russia has caused to Ukraine with its aggressive war," minister of justice Denys Malyuska said in an interview with Funke media groups on September 9.

Ukraine wants the UN general assembly to adopt a resolution that will become the basis for the creation of an international compensation mechanism. 

Malyuska said that Ukraine losses were estimated to be much higher than 300 billion dollars, and that the figure was simply based on an assessment of the international assets of the Central Bank of Russia which were frozen under the sanctions. 

Investigation Begins into Alleged Torture and Murder of British Volunteer

The prosecutor general's office announced that a pre-trial investigation had been launched into the possible torture and murder of a British volunteer by Russian military personnel.

Prosecutor general Andriy Kostin said that it had been established that in April 2022, during the evacuation of civilians in the Zaporizhia region, Paul Ury was captured by the Russian military and forcibly transported to the occupied Donetsk region. 

“In July, the occupation administration spread information about the alleged death of a volunteer as a result of illness and stress,” the official said in a statement. 

Ury’s body had only recently been returned to Ukraine-controlled territory, and Kostin noted that the volunteer's body had signs of injury that could indicate brutal treatment. But “the body was stored in improper conditions and is in a mutilated state, so the real cause of death and possible bodily injuries can be established after conducting a forensic medical examination,” he concluded. 

The minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, also expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the British volunteer.

Kidnapping in Kherson 

Russian military forces have kidnapped nearly 600 people in the Kherson region since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February, said Anastasiya Vesilovska, the chief information specialist of the regional prosecutor's office.

While 346 people had been released, 248 were still in Russian captivity, she continued.

"Among the people abducted by the occupiers are city mayors, village and settlement heads and their deputies, village heads, council secretaries, deputies of regional and local councils, law enforcement officers, priests and other citizens", Vesilovska said.

The general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine posted a statement that the Russian forces were using local populations as human shields in the Kherson region. 

Calls for Dedicated Tribunal

Ukrainian officials stressed the importance of a dedicated tribunal to try Russia for the crime of aggression.

Speaking at a panel discussion on war crimes at the 17th Annual Meeting of Yalta European Strategy (YES) in Kyiv, prosecutor general Andriy Kostin emphasised that the creation of a tribunal to prosecute aggression was the only acceptable outcome. 

Andriy Smyrnov, deputy head of the office of the president of Ukraine, said that while the ICC lacked jurisdiction over this crime, another court would find it straightforward.

“It will not be difficult to gather evidence – it is known who is guilty and who [Putin’s] close circle of people is,” he said.

British barrister Sir Geoffrey Nice, formerly lead prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic, also argued that the process should not be held back by bureaucracy. 

“The biggest problem that may appear during trials is the fact that lawyers want things to be more complicated, but those crimes are easy to prove,” he said.
 

This publication was prepared under the “Ukraine Voices Project" implemented with the financial support of the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).

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