Tuesday, 28 March ‘23

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

Tuesday, 28 March ‘23

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

Tuesday, 28 March, 2023


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

The ICC to Open Representation Office in Ukraine 

Ukraine's prosecutor general Andrii Kostin and the registrar of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) Peter Lewis signed an agreement on opening an office in Ukraine. Signed on March 23, Kostin called the document "another step towards ensuring full responsibility for international crimes”.

On March 17, the court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian commissioner for children’s rights, on charges of the forced deportation of more than 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.

Member of Russian Parliament Accused of Coordinating Occupation of Kherson 

Investigators of Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) reported in absentia Igor Kastyukevich, deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, on suspicion of encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine (Part 3 of Article 110 of the criminal code). 

According to the investigation, Kastyukevich, who resides in Russia, contributed to extending the temporary occupation of the Kherson region and personally coordinated the organisation of the illegal referendum to annex part of the Kherson region to the Russian Federation in September 2022.

Russian Commander to Be Tried

The prosecutor general sent an indictment to the court against the commander of the Central Military District of the Russian Federation on charges of encroachment on territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, planning, preparation, resolution and waging of an aggressive war (Part 3 of Article 110; Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 2 of Article 437 of the criminal code). The prosecutor general did not disclose the name of the accused, who is likely to be tried in absentia, but the military person with those credentials is known to be Alexander Lapin. 

The investigation established that the military led the Russian Centre group and directed a military operation to seize the territories of Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kyiv regions.

Between February 24 to March 31, 2022, the accused was in populated areas of Chernihiv regions, managed issues of military planning, gave orders, coordinated and controlled actions of the subordinate units of Centre and presented state awards to the subordinate Russian military. 

Police Identified Russian Commander Who Shot at Civilians 

Kharkiv poce investigators have identified a Russian commander who opened fire with a machine gun on a car in which a couple was travelling in June 2022, near the village of Velyka Komyshuvakha, in Kharkiv’s Izyum district. 

According to the investigation, the accused is Klim Kerzhaev, a senior lieutenant and company commander of the 2nd motorised rifle division of the 1st tank army of the western Military District. He was informed in absentia of the suspicion of violation of the laws and customs of war by prior conspiracy with others persons, combined with a completed attempt to intentionally kill two civilians (Part 2 of Article 15; Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 2 of Article 438 of the criminal code).

Thrown into a ditch, the civilian man was seriously injured but he survived, while the woman was rescued by Ukrainian soldiers. A radio intercept found that Kerzhaev said to his wife in a telephone conversation, laughing, “I killed a person today.” 

Russian Reported on Suspicion of Publicly Calling for Genocide 

SBU investigators reported in absentia Russian propagandist Igor Mangushev for suspicion of publicly calling to change Ukraine’s internationally recognised state borders (Part 1 of Article 110 of the criminal code) and publicly calling for the genocide of Ukrainians (Part 2 of Article 442 of the criminal code).

According to the investigation, Mangushev was in temporarily occupied Donetsk no later than August 2022 where he performed at a public event broadcast on the tnternet. While allegedly holding the skull of one of the Azovstal defenders in Mariupol, Mangushev talked about the inferiority of the Ukrainian nation and publicly called for genocide. In the video, in particular, he stated that “Ukraine must be de-Ukrainised” and “all bearers of [Ukraine's] ideas must be destroyed”. An excerpt of this speech was later circulated online. 

The criminal proceedings were initiated in September 2022. Russian media reported that Mangushev died in hospital in February 2023 from a head wound received in the [temporarily occupied] Luhansk region. If his death is confirmed, the case will be closed.

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