Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov is initiating through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs an appeal to the member states of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to delegate military justice experts who will help with the work on specific cases of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
He expressed his belief that bringing criminals to justice should be part of the joint efforts of the international coalition countering Russian aggression.
"That is why I am initiating an appeal through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the member countries of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (known in Ukraine as the Ramstein format) to delegate experts in military justice, specialists in countering war crimes. The goal is to create international groups that will help with work on specific cases of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, as well as analyze the practical aspects of punishment for war crimes committed during a war that contains many hybrid elements," he wrote on Facebook Saturday morning.
According to the minister, coordination in the area of punishing Russian criminals could be an important complement to the work of arms aid, something in which Ramstein, thanks to the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, has already demonstrated results.
In addition, Reznikov appealed through the Foreign Ministry to the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Robert Spano, regarding the need to interpret articles 2 and 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the light of the current circumstances and the horrific crimes committed by the Russian Federation against Ukrainian prisoners of war. In particular, in the context of the specific case of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the decision on which can become a pointer when considering other cases, the minister noted.
Reznikov stressed that the responsibility of Russians for war crimes will be irreversible. Thus, the Ukrainian Defense Forces released a joint statement on Friday to draw the world's attention to the situation of Ukrainian prisoners of war, primarily the defenders and defenders of Mariupol.
"I have no doubt that after Ukraine wins this war, we will in one way or another "catch up" with everyone involved in the barbaric killings and abuse. Representatives of the Defense Forces of Ukraine have repeatedly and very clearly spoken about this. Sooner or later, it will happen. At the same time our response must be not only principled, but also systematic," the defense minister added.
According to him, an important component of counteraction to war crimes must be a demonstration that the punishment will be irreversible and not limited in time.
However, Reznikov said, for this to become a reality, it is necessary "to offer with a cool head a system of legal responses to war crimes in times of war, which Europe has not seen in 80 years and which contains elements that may not be fully covered by the current rules of law."
He noted that the Russian crime in Yelenovka, in addition to the reaction of institutions such as the International Criminal Court, the UN International Court of Justice and the ECHR, requires a strong UN response, because it is a conscious disregard of recognized international legal customs, which under the 1993 UN Security Council resolution include all the Geneva Conventions.
"It is the UN that should force the Russian Federation to allow representatives of the Red Cross to Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka," the minister wrote.
The defense minister also said that the only chance to save at least some perspective for the individuals concerned in the Russian Federation is to immediately stop participating in the criminal aggression and mitigate the consequences with concrete actions.
"After all, after another brutal act of the Russian occupiers or after a public abuse of our soldiers like the "trial" that was planned in Mariupol, the chances to disassociate themselves from this barbarism decrease and the risks of taking full responsibility increase," he stressed.