Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said he initiates an appeal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the participating countries of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (the Ramstein format) with the request to send experts in military justice and specialists in countering war crimes to Ukraine.
According to Ukrinform, the minister said this in a Facebook post.
He said the responsibility of the Russians for war crimes would be inevitable.
Reznikov recalled that the defense forces of Ukraine issued a joint statement on August 12 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," he wrote.
"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 defense forces have repeatedly and very clearly expressed their position on this matter. Sooner or later, it will happen," he said.
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 the persons who give orders, encourage or justify those crimes, he said. Also, no one has canceled the responsibility of those who spread lies and hatred. Nuremberg practices are extremely helpful in this regard.
Reznikov also added: "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."
He said that having deliberately committed mass murder in Olenivka, Russia intentionally violated Hague Convention IV respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (with annexed Regulations); Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War; the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
This crime, apart from the reaction of such institutions as the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, requires a decisive reaction of the United Nations, Reznikov said. "That is because we are talking about intentional disregard of recognized international customary law, to which all the Geneva Conventions belong under UN Security Council resolution of 1993. It is the UN that must force Russia to allow Red Cross representatives to visit Ukrainian POWs in Olenivka," he added.
According to the minister, bringing criminals to justice should become part of the common efforts of the international coalition that opposes Russian aggressors.
That is why he initiates an appeal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the participating countries of the Ukraine Defense 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 analyze 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 thanks to the leadership of a great friend of Ukraine and my friend, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III," Reznikov wrote.
In the same way, he 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. Such interpretation may take place in the context of considering the particular case of Ukrainian POWs. A decision in that case may become a pilot case for all future cases.
"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 only chance to save at least some future perspective for the relevant persons in Russia is to immediately stop the participation in this criminal aggression and mitigate the consequences with concrete actions. It’s not worth hesitating. After another savage act of the Russian invaders or a public outrage against our soldiers, like the 'trial' which is planned in Mariupol, are reducing the chances to insulate yourself from this barbarism and increasing the risks of assuming full responsibility," Reznikov said.