Croatia affirms commitment to assist Ukraine with war crime investigations

According to Justice Minister Ivan Malenica, Croatian experts have been working with Ukrainian authorities to help with war crime investigations for months.

Malenica was there to meet with Andriy Kostin, the prosecutor general, and Denys Maliuska, his counterpart from Ukraine. The three officials, according to a press statement from the Croatian Justice Ministry, mostly discussed difficulties with war crime investigations, such as acquiring evidence and creating a system of support for victims and witnesses.

Malenica claimed that his trip was “an expression of solidarity” with the Ukrainian people and a “sign of Croatia’s commitment to help process war crimes perpetrated in Ukrainian territory.”

To help Ukrainian authorities, Croatian officials aim to use their extensive expertise during the 1991–1995 war for independence in Croatia and the ensuing war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations.

“As a country which witnessed grave violations of international law and many war crimes on its own territory, we are in a position to understand very well the process that Ukraine is going through right now, and we wish to provide our assistance. Our experts have been present in Ukraine for months, helping Ukrainian prosecutors. Processing crimes committed during a war of aggression is a complex and lengthy undertaking. That’s why we want to offer our experience and expertise to help Ukraine.”

Malenica was quoted as saying.

According to Ukrainian authorities, since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, more than 74,500 wartime crimes, including killings, executions, attacks on civilian infrastructure, sexual violence, and kidnappings, have been registered.

The executions in Bucha, a town 25 kilometers west of Kyiv that Russian forces took and held in March 2022, are among the most well-known incidents. The local Ukrainian authorities revealed evidence of the massacre of more than 400 residents during the occupation after their retreat in April.

Numerous instances of Russian bombardment of residential areas have been confirmed in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine.

“Both of our countries had to face numerous challenges, including thousands of victims, destroyed infrastructure, and damaged economy. You are familiar with crimes perpetrated at Bucha, Irpin, Kharkiv… Croatia’s experience in processing war crimes and post-war judiciary matters is exemplary.”

Maliuska said.

The International Criminal Court, which has its headquarters in The Hague, launched its investigation last year and issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March despite numerous denials by Moscow.

Ukraine employs mobile teams of investigators with the assistance of foreign legal and forensic specialists to look into the locations of alleged war crimes because gathering evidence is the first step toward a prospective trial before submitting these cases to an international court.

Maliuska declared that one of the greatest difficulties his nation would face in the future would be the post-war transition to peace.


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