U.S. to offer additional help to Ukraine for Russian war crimes probes
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland looks over at Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin as he speaks about the prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine committed by Russian forces during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Monday the Justice Department intends to appoint a prosecutor and a legal adviser to assist Ukraine with its efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected war crimes by Russian forces.
The prosecutor will be based in The Hague at Eurojust, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, Garland said, following a meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.
Garland said a resident legal adviser would also be dispatched to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this summer.
He said Ukrainian prosecutors had been working with the Justice Department to investigate war crimes for which the U.S. has jurisdiction, such as those who kill or injure Americans. Congress also recent expanded the department’s authority to prosecute any war criminals found within the U.S.
“We have been making good progress with respect to some suspects,” Garland told reporters on Monday, adding that the investigation “is going very well.”
Russia denies involvement in war crimes and denies deliberately attacking civilians.
Kostin told reporters he welcomed assistance from the Justice Department, and said Ukraine was also talking with U.S. intelligence agencies “about the possibility of the sharing of intelligence information to investigate and prosecute specific war crimes committed by Russians.”
Last June, Garland tapped veteran prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum to lead a new War Crimes Accountability Team, which is tasked with coordinating and providing assistance to international counterparts to help collect and analyze evidence to hold suspected Russian war criminals accountable.
In March 2022, the department also launched a new task force known as “KleptoCapture” which is dedicated to enforcing sanctions, export restrictions and economic countermeasures designed to freeze Russia out of global market.