The United States, in partnership with the European Union and the United Kingdom, announced the creation of an advisory group to help Ukraine’s war crimes investigations.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed the formation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group on Wednesday, saying in a statement that the “joint initiative will directly support the efforts of the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions.”
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The group will also “provide strategic advice and operational assistance” and “expanded funding for the work of a multi-national team of international prosecutors and other war crimes experts already deployed in the region” to Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova and her office.
Venediktova's office is currently investigating more than 13,000 cases of alleged war crimes and have more than 50 suspects accused of committing war crimes and another 600-plus they say have committed the crime of aggression, another type of war crime that focuses more on the planning and initiation of a large-scale act of aggression using a state military force.
Earlier this week, 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian man in late February in a village in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine. He is not the only soldier who has been charged but is the first to get sentenced.
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“This process for me as the prosecutor general of Ukraine, it's a first result of our everyday job. We have huge number of these investigations,” she added. “For us, it is the start of a common process of justice because, actually, when we start to prosecute war criminals, for today, we have now suspects in war crimes, more than 50 persons, and in our main anchor case about crime of aggression, more than 600 persons.“