New Delhi: The European Union will assist Ukraine in probing alleged war crimes committed by the Russian military in the besieged country while the US is gearing up to suspend Russia from the UN’s Human Rights Council.
After horrific photos emerged of dead bodies strewn on Ukraine’s streets, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday: “I spoke with President Zelenskyy about the atrocious murder of civilians in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. The EU is ready to send Joint Investigation Teams to document war crimes in coordination with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. Europol and Eurojust will support.”
Calling the civilian deaths “dreadful murders”, Ursula von der Leyen said: “This afternoon I spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the dreadful murders that have been uncovered in Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left.
“The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must not go unpunished. We agreed to ensure close coordination between us.
“The EU has set up a Joint Investigation Team with Ukraine to collect evidence and investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity. The EU is ready to reinforce this effort by sending investigation teams on the ground to support the Ukrainian Prosecution Services. Eurojust and Europol are ready to assist.
A global response is necessary. There are ongoing talks between Eurojust and the International Criminal Court to join forces and for the Court to be part of the Joint Investigation Team. Such a coordinated approach from the Ukrainian authorities, the EU, its Member States and agencies, and the International Criminal Court will allow for the evidence to be collected, analysed and processed in the most complete and effective way possible.”
Leyen has tasked Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to follow up and take contact with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. “The Commission will provide all the necessary technical and financial support to all EU-led investigations,” she said.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday that Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is “a farce.”
US mission spokesperson Thomas-Greenfield tweeted: “Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council is a farce. It hurts the credibility of the council and the UN writ large. And it is wrong, which is why we believe it is time the UN General Assembly vote to suspend them.”
After her trip to Moldova and Romania Monday, Thomas-Greenfield told the media: “I am returning to New York to do two things. One: I will take this to the Security Council tomorrow morning and address Russia’s actions directly.
“Two: In close coordination with Ukraine, European countries and other partners at the UN, we are going to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council.”