War Crimes Against Civilians in Ukraine
with Lorenzo Tondo for The Guardian
In the region of Kharkiv and villages around the capital Kiev, occupied by Russian troops, Ukrainian investigators found dozens of mass graves where the bodies of tortured and murdered civilians had been buried. Evidence collected by prosecutors, where the Russian occupiers were accused of atrocities against residents, showed that Putin's troops used cluster munitions and extremely powerful unguided bombs in the populated areas that destroyed several civilian buildings. Since the areas were liberated, groups of volunteers have worked tirelessly to exhume the bodies and send them to forensic doctors who have collected evidence of crimes committed by Russian soldiers. Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and claimed that Ukrainian and Western accusations of war crimes are fabricated.
Experts say that the wide-ranging effort to collect evidence to prosecute Russia and its military for war crimes in the brutal killings of Ukrainian civilians, may become the biggest effort in history to hold war criminals to account. Ukraine’s judicial system is almost wholly devoted, with most of its prosecutors, to investigating over 30,000 war crimes since Russian invasion began.
On, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued warrant of arrest for Vladimir Putin. President Putin is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022.