24 May, 2022

Renew Europe: All war crimes committed in Ukraine must be prosecuted

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament strongly condemns the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression against Ukraine and the grave violations of human rights and laws of war by Russian troops.

In a resolution on the fight against impunity of war crimes in Ukraine approved last week during a European Parliament plenary session in Brussels, Renew Europe insisted on the importance of collection of evidence in these cases. To ensure no impunity, a Special International Tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression must be created, while the rights of victims and the protection of witnesses, in particular victims of rape and sexual violence, must be a priority.

Renew Europe Vice-Chair Dragoș Tudorache MEP (USR PLUS, RO), who co-negotiated the resolution on behalf Renew Europe, welcomed the setting up of the Joint Investigation Team by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine:

“We are horrified by the ongoing mass atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine. The torturing and killing of civilians and the mass rape of women and children go beyond any war logic and amount to severe war crimes. As the EU is a pillar of democracy and supporter of human rights, we believe the EU should play a key role in fighting to bring justice for the victims and ensure that those responsible for these barbaric acts are punished.”

Katalin Cseh MEP (Momentum, HU), Vice-President of Renew Europe Group, Coordinator in the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights and co-negotiator of this resolution, added:

"Thousands of war crimes have been committed by Russia since the country invaded in Ukraine three months ago. The indiscriminate bombing of civilian infrastructure, unlawful killings and the mass deportation of Ukrainians to Russia inflict unthinkable damage to civilians in Ukraine and the perpetrators must be held accountable. This resolution will contribute to ensuring that justice is delivered to Ukrainians, who can then rebuild their country from seized Russian foreign reserves. Renew Europe will continue to support these efforts, standing firmly by the side of Ukraine."

Moreover, following an urgent legislative procedure, the European Parliament also approved the extension of the mandate of the European Agency for Judicial Cooperation (Eurojust) to permanently, immediately and appropriately store, preserve and share evidence of war crimes and cooperate with the International Criminal Court. For this mandate to come urgently into force and the crimes committed in the war in Ukraine to be prosecuted, the EU needs to deal with legal instruments recognised in all Member States and Ukraine to ensure the ICC has full jurisdiction to bring war lords and criminals to justice.

Fabienne Keller MEP (Renaissance, FR), member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and shadow rapporteur on the file, concluded:

“Russian war criminals will be summoned to the courts! This a strong step - we have provided Eurojust with a new mandate to support the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine. The EU's agency for judicial cooperation will play a key role to coordinate the work of national prosecutors and the International Criminal Court and identify evidence of such crimes. Europe stands by the Ukrainians.”

Photo credit: Dragoș Tudorache and Katalin Cseh

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