Germany has gathered evidence of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, the German prosecutor general said in an interview with a newspaper.
He emphasized the necessity for an international legal process. “Right now, for example, we are focusing on the mass executions in Bucha or strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure,” Peter Frank told the daily Welt am Sonntag, as reported by Reuters.
Prosecutors have evidence in the “three-digit range”
German prosecutors have evidence of Russia’s war crimes in the “three-digit range” thus far, the prosecutor general noted, without providing more details.
Ukraine and Western nations have accused invading Russian troops of committing war crimes in Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, shortly after their invasion began in February 2022. The claim has been disputed by Moscow, despite the video evidence.
Germany gathered evidence to pursue alleged Russian war crimes
In March 2022, Germany began gathering evidence to pursue alleged Russian war crimes, including questioning Ukrainian refugees and examining publicly accessible information, according to Mr. Frank. The general prosecutor also said that German prosecutors were not seeking specific individuals.
“We are prepared for a possible future court case, whether with us in Germany, with our overseas partners, or before an international court,” the general prosecutor explained.
When asked who should be tried in Russia’s war crimes case, Mr. Frank said Russian state authorities and those in charge of making decisions at the highest political and military level should face charges.
European Parliament’s resolution on a special tribunal to charge Russian leadership
Ukraine has called for a creation of a special tribunal to charge Russian military and political elites for launching the war.
The European Parliament passed a resolution in January establishing a special tribunal to try the crime of aggression against Ukraine. According to the text, such acts are the responsibility of Russia’s top leadership.
The special tribunal, comparable to the Nuremberg tribunals that followed World War II, should be established in close collaboration with Ukraine and the international community, preferably through the UN, the European Parliament determined. In the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the UN Security Council established similar tribunals to prosecute war crimes.
The European Parliament’s resolution emphasizes that the most crucial practical step in establishing a special tribunal should be the creation of an international special prosecutor’s office to examine the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
International Criminal Court’s investigation
Days after Moscow’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion, the International Criminal Court opened its investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. Still, it lacks jurisdiction to punish Russia’s war aggression in Ukraine.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s chief, announced during her visit to Kyiv that an international center for prosecuting the crime of aggression in Ukraine would be established in The Hague.
Kyiv and Western nations have accused Moscow of war crimes, which Moscow has denied, despite the growing evidence, pictures, videos, and witnesses’ testimonials documented.
Put a stop to Russia’s impunity for its war aggression against Ukraine
Establishing a special tribunal for the crime of aggression will not impact the ICC’s jurisdiction. Still, the EU is sure that it will simply supplement it. Russian officials cannot now be held guilty in any court for the crime of aggression.
As a result, “the establishment of such a tribunal would fill a significant gap in the system of international criminal justice,” according to the European Parliament resolution. The ICC prosecutor, for its part, will focus on examining suspected genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.