Tuesday, 7 March ‘23

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

Tuesday, 7 March ‘23

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

Tuesday, 7 March, 2023


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression

The International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA) in The Hague will support and enhance the investigation into the crime of aggression perpetrated by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The agreement for the centre was signed at the United for Justice conference in Lviv on March 3-4, which brought together stakeholders involved in ensuring accountability for war crimes committed in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

The joint investigation team (JIT) which created the initiative was set up with the support of Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, to collect evidence and investigate core international crimes committed in Ukraine. It comprises experts from the International Criminal Court (ICC) Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Romania.

Russian Pilot Who Bombed Kharkiv TV Tower Convicted

A Russian pilot was sentenced to 12 years in prison for violating the laws and customs of war in Ukraine (Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) found that on March 6, 2022, the serviceman crossed the state border on a Russian fighter jet and bombed a radio and television station in Kharkiv city.

He used eight FAB-500 aviation bombs with a total weight of 2.5 tonnes in TNT equivalent. Shot down by Ukrainian air defence, the pilot ejected from the plane, landed and was captured. No information was shared about whether the pilot was exchanged and convicted in absentia.

Two Russian Soldiers Suspected of Rape in Kherson and Kyiv Regions

The SBU reported in absentia Russian soldier Alexander Rubanov on suspicion of rape, in violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). Investigators found that from the end of March 2022, the suspect's unit, the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Mountain Brigade, raided civilian houses in Kherson region’s Berislav district. 

During one of the raids, Rubanov came to the victim's yard and raped her at knifepoint, threatening to kill her and her child. He then moved in to her house and lived there, continuing to rape her while threatening her life and her child’s, until the end of August 2022, when Rubanov left the village.

Investigators of the National Police also reported in absentia the suspicion of rape to Bair Baldanov, Russian soldier of the 37th separate guard motorised rifle of the Don Budapest Order of Red Banner Red Star Brigade. Investigators found that at the end of March 2022 Baldanov and two colleagues came to a house in Bucha, in Kyiv region. Inside they found the victim, her daughter and her elderly mother. The suspect took the woman to the garage, where he raped her, threatening to rape her young daughter if she resisted. His comrades remained on the street to prevent the victim's relatives and neighbours coming to her assistance. The suspect returned few days later and raped the woman again. 

Russian Officers to be Tried for Ordering Torture and Murder

Kyiv prosecutors sent an indictment to the court as part of a special pre-trial investigation against two Russian army commanders accused of violating the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder. The two suspects are battalion commander major Maksim Krasnoshchokov and deputy company commander major Aleksandr Vasiliev.

The investigation found that in February 2022, during the occupation of the village of Peremoga in Brovary district, Russian servicemen, acting on the orders of the accused, captured eight civilians, interrogated them, beat them and used firearms to obtain information about the Ukrainian military. After the interrogation, also at the order of the accused, five of the civilians were shot. 

Another Russian commander is due to be tried in the Chernihiv region for shooting and injuring two civilians. Investigators found that in March 2022, during the occupation of the village of Pakul, the accused entered the basement of the local forestry department and shot two villagers who were there. In another incident, the accused ordered subordinates to search the recreation centre of the occupied village of Andriivka, which Russian soldiers then robbed.

Russian Soldier Sentenced in Absentia for Robbery 

The prosecutor office in Sumy region’s Okhtyrka district sentenced Russian soldier Yury Andropov to ten years in prison for robbing civilians, in violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). Andropov holds the post of commander of a military unit in the city of Naro-Fominsk, in the Moscow region.

In March 2022, during the occupation of the town of Trostyanets in Okhtyrka district, the serviceman was on duty at a checkpoint where he checked vehicles and people moving across the city. During one check, he forced passengers to leave their car and, threatening them with weapons, took valuables including a smartphone and cash from three civilians.

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