Tuesday, 18 October ‘22

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

Tuesday, 18 October ‘22

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

Tuesday, 18 October, 2022


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Russians Can be Sent to The Hague

Ukraine can extradite Russians suspected of war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), even though Moscow is not a member, said the tribunal’s prosecutor Karim Khan.

The Ukrainian authorities can also send Russian detainees to the court in The Hague, he continued.

“From a legal point of view, yes, it will not be an obstacle to our jurisdiction," Khan said, adding, “Of course, if there was a need [...] and there was a reason why these trials could not be held in Ukraine, for example, due to some additional legal provisions, then I am sure that we would have received cooperation with Ukraine”.

He also announced that the ICC would investigate Russia's wide-scale October 10 missile across Ukrainian territory. There were more than 74 shellings in 12 regions, with 20 people killed and another 108 injured.

PACE Deems Russia “Terrorist” State

On October 13 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for the creation of a tribunal to try Russia for the crime of aggression and declared the current regime to be "a terrorist one”.

In its statement, PACE “strongly condemned” the attempted annexation of Ukrainian regions by Russia as “an affront to international law” and deemed it to be “null and void, with no legal or political effects”.

It stated that “the Russian Federation [was] accountable for its aggression and violations of human rights and humanitarian law” and emphasised that a special ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine should be established. Lawmaker Maria Mezentseva, who heads Ukraine’s PACE delegation, said in an interview with Ukrainian media that “the next step is the tribunal”.

Romania Joins Eurojust Initiative

Romania joined the Joint Investigation Team on alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine (JIT) as the seventh member of the initiative.

“The legal front is getting stronger. We must defeat the enemy not only on the battlefield, but also in the courts,” stated Ukrainian prosecutor general Andriy Kostin.

The JIT was set up on March 25, 2022 by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine and later joined by Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia. In April this year, the office of the ICC prosecutor became a participant in the JIT.

New War Crimes Evidence in Liberated Territories

Ukrainian prosecutors continued to record war crimes in the newly liberated territories of Kharkiv and Donetsk regions.

In the Donetsk region, more than 120 bodies, including children, were exhumed across 35 burial sites, three of which were extensive. The bodies of 22 civilians and 34 military personnel were recovered from Lyman, with police officers reporting evidence of both violence and natural deaths.

Three more bodies of civilians were found in the Kupyansk district of the Kharkiv region, according to the prosecutor's office. One was a local resident who was buried by a friend, who reported that on September 21, a Russian soldier shot the deceased in the head because he was providing intelligence to the Ukrainian army. The bodies of a man and a woman were also found on the side of a road. According to the preliminary version of the investigation, they died due to Russian mortar fire.

Prosecutors’ Strategy for Sexual Violence Cases

The office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine presented its strategy for ensuring a victim- and witness-oriented approach to cases of conflict-related sexual violence. The strategy was developed together with international lawyers and civil society organisations.

Prosecutor Iryna Didenko noted that crimes of sexual violence had been recorded in all regions where there had been a Russian military presence.

“We realised that we have to completely change our approaches to the investigation of crimes of this category,” she said.

“We are starting from the readiness of our citizens to speak about these crimes. We are ready to guarantee them, first of all, confidentiality.”

Didenko added that prosecutors were joining forces with volunteers and public organisations to help survivors of sexual violence.

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