Minister of Defence of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov has said that he is initiating an appeal to the participating countries of the Ukraine Defenсe Contact Group (the Ramstein format) with the request to delegate their experts to help Ukraine punish Russian war criminals.

He published a corresponding statement on his Facebook page, stressing that the responsibility of the Russians for war crimes would be inevitable.

Reznikov recalled that the defence forces of Ukraine issued a joint statement on 12 August to draw the attention of the world to the situation with Ukrainian POWs, first and foremost, the defenders of Mariupol, as the Russian authorities are committing their massacre in violation of all laws and customs of war.

“The brutal mass killing of Ukrainian POWs by Russian invaders in Olenivka once again demonstrated the criminal and inhuman nature of everything that the Kremlin is trying to bring upon our land. The nature from which we are protecting not only Ukraine, but the entire free world,” the Minister wrote.

He expressed confidence that after the victory, all the guilty will be punished.

“I have no doubt that after Ukraine’s victory in this war, we will, one way or another, catch all those involved in these barbaric killings and tortures. Representatives of the Ukrainian defence forces have repeatedly and very clearly expressed their position on this matter. Sooner or later, it will happen,” Reznikov noted.

At the same time, Reznikov said, the response should be not only fundamental, but also systematic. A demonstration that punishment will be inevitable and without any statute of limitations must become an important component of combating war crimes. First of all, this applies not to ordinary executors, but to the people who give orders, encourage or justify those crimes.

“For this to become reality, among other things, we must remain cool-headed and propose a system of legal measures to respond to war crimes in a war the likes of which Europe has not seen in 80 years; a system containing elements which may not be fully covered by current legal norms,” the Minister added.

He said that bringing criminals to justice should become part of the common efforts of the international coalition that opposes Russian aggressor. That is why the Minister is initiating an appeal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the participating countries of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (the Ramstein format) with the request to send experts in military justice and specialists in countering war crimes to Ukraine.

The goal is to establish international groups that will help with the work on specific cases of Russian war crimes in Ukraine and also analyse the practical aspects of punishment for war crimes containing many hybrid elements.

“Coordination in the sphere of punishing Russian criminals may become an important addition to the work on weapons assistance, where Ramstein has already demonstrated outstanding results,” Reznikov noted.

He also said he had addressed the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Robert Spano, on the need to interpret Articles 2-3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, given the existing conditions and circumstances of terrible crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukrainian POWs.

“Russia is being rebuffed on the battlefield, in the informational, economic, and energy spheres. The legal front should send a clear signal to the Kremlin and all those involved in the aggression against Ukraine that will not be able to sneak away or hide,” the Minister summed up.

Bohdan Marusyak

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