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Zelensky tells war crimes conference that Russia must be prosecuted

In World
April 02, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a renewed call to the international community for a united effort to prosecute Russian war crimes at a conference on the issue in The Hague on Tuesday.

The aggressors must be held accountable for their actions, Zelensky said in a video message addressing the conference on justice in Ukraine. The message must be clear: “Justice is stronger than the Kremlin’s war,” Zelensky said.

More than two years after Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, European ministers and international investigators are discussing the progress status of prosecution of war crimes.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recalled the massacre of civilians in the town of Bucha two years ago, saying it had become a symbol of Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

“The whole world looked evil in the eye in Bucha,” he told the meeting.

Unarmed Ukrainian civilians were killed, beaten, dismembered, burned and subject to mock executions in the Kiev suburb of Bucha in spring 2022 after the withdrawal of the Russians.

Ukraine, its allies and the European Commission say they want suspected war criminals brought to justice.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 100,000 alleged war crimes in Ukraine have been documented so far.

The Netherlands is hosting the conference, with participants including representatives from the European Commission, Ukraine and Western allies as well as the International Criminal Court and the European judicial authority Eurojust.

Shortly after the start of the war, several countries agreed to cooperate with Ukraine and international judicial authorities in the investigations.

In addition to the Ukrainian judiciary, the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in The Hague is also investigating. Chief prosecutor Karim Khan has already issued four international arrest warrants against high-ranking Russians for alleged war crimes, including President Vladimir Putin.

The ICC accuses Putin of being responsible for the abduction and deportation of children and minors from Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine to Russia. Moscow refers to the incidents as battlefield evacuations.

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