The Hague opens center for investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

The International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA) has opened in The Hague. It includes prosecutors from the EU, the USA, Ukraine and the International Criminal Court.

“Thanks to the ICPA, independent prosecutors from different countries will be able to work together in one place every day, share evidence quickly and efficiently, and agree on a common investigation and prosecution strategy”, the website of the European Union’s Criminal Justice Cooperation Agency said.

The center is expected to contribute “to any future prosecution of the crime of aggression”. Thus, its creation is the first step toward a special tribunal that could prosecute Russian officials for waging war against Ukraine.

The center’s founders emphasize that the war in Ukraine is by far the most documented in history. Moreover, for the first time, the aggression is being investigated in the course of military actions rather than after they have ended.

“At the same time, we are dealing with an international crime that has rarely been prosecuted and for which there is no standard practice”, the center’s founders note.

So far, the only charge against Russia by an international organization has been an arrest warrant for “Russian President” Vladimir Putin and children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Putin and Lvova-Belova are suspected of illegally deporting children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.

Putin said that Russia legally removed Ukrainian children from the war conflict zone. “We are ready to continue this process. Children are a sacred cause. We were taking them out of the conflict zone. No one was going to separate children from their families. We took out entire orphanages absolutely legally, because the heads of these orphanages were legal representatives”, Putin said.

Earlier, the UN put the Russian army on a “list of shame” and held Russia responsible for the deaths of 136 children in Ukraine in 2022.

As of the end of May this year, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed the deaths of 8,895 civilians since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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