Members' Research Service By / June 10, 2022

Russia’s war on Ukraine: Investigating and prosecuting international crimes

Since 24 February, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, millions of people have fled the country, in what the UN has termed the most serious global peace and security crisis of recent years.

© Алексей Синельников / Adobe Stock

Written by Ann Neville.

Since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine there has been mounting evidence of what may constitute violations of international criminal law in the conduct of the war. Active investigations into alleged core international crimes (which are classified as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide) have begun, with the involvement of the Ukrainian authorities, the International Criminal Court, and other international organisations.

The EU is playing an active role in this process, with Eurojust assisting a Joint Investigation Team established by Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, and with the participation of a number of other Member States. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is also participating, the first time it has joined a Joint Investigation Team. However, investigations of the crime of aggression, relating to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are hampered by the fact that neither Russia nor Ukraine are signatories of the Statute of Rome, which established the International Criminal Court and brought this crime within its jurisdiction.

This briefing discusses investigations into core international crimes in Ukraine. It looks at the identification, gathering and assessment of information to ensure that it is admissible as evidence in trials of those accused of these crimes. It also analyses the specific challenges involved in the assessment of digital information and how to ensure that it is properly evaluated in an era of deepfakes and digital manipulation.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Russia’s war on Ukraine: Investigating and prosecuting international crimes‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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