by Zdravko Ljubas
Eurojust will support work of the ICC's Office
of the Prosecutor and General Prosecutors of
Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine in investigating
and documenting war crimes and
crimes against humanity in Ukraine
- consequences of the Russian invasion of that country.
For the first time ever, the Office of the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court (ICC)
will join a
Eurojust joint investigation
team, JIT, which was formed to probe whether genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes have been committed
The JIT was set up
with Eurojust support on 25 March by Lithuania, Poland and
Ukraine and aims to,
investigations and prosecutions in the concerned states as well
as those that could be taken forward before the ICC," Eurojust
said in a statement on Monday.
Karim A.A. Khan QC and the
prosecutors general of the three countries involved formed the JIT
and sent a clear message that all efforts will be made to
effectively gather evidence on core international crimes committed
in Ukraine and bring those responsible to justice, according to the
The JIT should make investigations and international judicial
situation, in particular, demands collective action so as to
secure relevant evidence and ultimately ensure its effective use
in criminal proceedings," ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC,
He stressed that his
office, through its participation in the JIT, will significantly
enhance its ability to access and collect information relevant to
its independent investigations.
However, he underlined that the ICC participation in the JIT,
"will not be a
"We do not wish to only be the recipients of information and
evidence. We also want to serve as an effective partner with
respect to the conduct of domestic proceedings in relation to
core international crimes, in line with the principle of
complementarity," said Khan QC.
Because Eurojust's legal
framework currently does not allow it to collect, preserve, analyze,
and share evidence relating to core international crimes, nor to
directly cooperate with the ICC in this regard, the European
Commission proposed amending the Eurojust Regulation to grant the
Agency legal authority to collect, retain, and share evidence of war
National authorities are already gathering evidence of possible
crimes committed in Ukraine, but it cannot be safely stored in
Ukraine due to the current conflict.
accountability for the crimes committed in Ukraine, it is
crucial to ensure safe storage of evidence outside Ukraine as
well as to support the investigations and prosecutions by
various European and international judicial authorities," the
Commission said in a statement.
The world has been
witnessing the horrors done in Bucha, Kramatorsk, and other
Ukrainian cities since the beginning of the Russian invasion,
according to European Commissioner for Justice,
for the war crimes in Ukraine must be held accountable," he
The Commission also
stated that it will financially help the investigation, whether
through money for equipment, specialists, or the work of the
Genocide Network, which has begun training judicial authorities
on how to develop war crimes cases.
"The EU is also
launching a dedicated 7.5 million euro (US$7.92 million) project
to support the investigations with ensuring large data
collection on missing and disappeared persons," read the
The EU High
Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
Josep Borrell, also announced
that the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM), which was already in
Ukraine prior to Russia's invasion, will now be tasked with
assisting the Ukrainian General Prosecutor with investigation and
evidence collection on the ground.
The Ukrainian General Prosecution Office, 11 EU member states, and
the ICC Office of the Prosecutor have all launched probes into war
crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Ukraine since the
Russian invasion on February 24.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office has set up a special website,
encouraging citizens to report and document such crimes.
The Office has so far registered nearly 8,500 alleged war crimes and
more than 4,000 crimes against national security, allegedly
involving 620 high politicians of the Russian Federation, such as
ministers, members of the parliament, military commanders or the
members of the Kremlin's propaganda machine.
The number also includes
family members of the Russian political elite.