May 19, 2022 - World

5 international attorneys general voice support for Ukraine's prosecutor general

Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova
Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Britain's Karim Khan, visit a mass grave on the grounds of the Church of Saint Andrew in Bucha on April 13, 2022. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

Top federal prosecutors from five different nations on Thursday issued a joint statement of support for Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who is investigating and prosecuting Russian soldiers for alleged war crimes, the Department of Justice announced.

Why it matters: Venediktova has accused Russia of carrying out an estimated 12,595 war crimes since the beginning of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to data cited by her office.

  • In April, Ukrainian prosecutors first filed war crimes charges against 10 Russian soldiers accused of being “involved in torture of peaceful civilians” related to the alleged massacre in Bucha.
  • A soldier accused of murdering a civilian will be the first Russian soldier to face trial proceedings, Venediktova's office announced on May 11.
  • The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office is also investigating the deaths of at least 231 children who have died in areas of "active hostilities" since the conflict began.

Between the lines: Russia has denied targeting civilians, dismissing photographic evidence as propaganda.

What they're saying: “The Attorneys General of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand join in support of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, her Office, and the Ukrainian people in ensuring accountability for war crimes committed during the Russian invasion," the collective press release issued by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's office stated.

  • “We support the pursuit of justice by Ukraine and through other international investigations, including at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and in our own jurisdictions, in order to the ensure prompt, fair and effective investigation and prosecution of such offences under Ukrainian, domestic or international law," the statement added.
  • “We join in condemning the Russian Government for its actions, and call upon it to cease all violations of international law, to halt its illegal invasion and to cooperate in efforts to achieve accountability."

Flashback: President Joe Biden has previously stated Russian President Vladimir Putin should face war crimes charges over atrocities in Bucha.

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