Russian investigator says he wants a new court for Ukraine

July 25 (Reuters) – The head of Russia’s investigative commission said Moscow had charged 92 members of Ukraine’s armed forces with crimes against humanity and proposed an international tribunal backed by countries including Bolivia, Iran and Syria.

The government’s Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted committee head Alexander Bastrykin on Monday as accusing “more than 220 people, including representatives of the high command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as commanders of military units who shelled the civilian population.”

Ukrainians were involved in “crimes against the peace and security of mankind, which have no statute of limitations”, he said. Bastrykin, whose committee investigates major crimes, said 92 commanders and their subordinates had been charged and 96 people, including 51 armed forces commanders, had been declared wanted.

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Reuters could not independently verify the committee’s claims. Ukrainian authorities were not immediately available for comment.

The United States and more than 40 other countries agreed earlier this month to coordinate investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Read more

Since launching what they call a special military operation in February, Russian forces have shelled Ukrainian towns and left bodies on the streets of towns and villages they occupied. Ukraine says tens of thousands of civilians have died. Moscow denies any responsibility.

There have also been reports of Ukrainians abusing Russian prisoners, although the vast majority of accusations documented by bodies such as the United Nations relate to alleged atrocities committed by Russian invaders and their proxies.

Bastrykin was asked about his committee’s investigations into the actions of Ukrainian security forces in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Moscow-backed separatist territories in Ukraine’s industrialized east, and whether any investigations could take place under the auspices of the United Nations.

Since the “collective West” openly supports Ukraine, he said it would be more appropriate to work with Russian partners from the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

It was “timely” to involve countries with an independent stance on Ukraine, “especially Syria, Iran and Bolivia”, he added.

Bastrykin said 1,300 criminal investigations had been opened against members of the Ukrainian military, political leaders, radical nationalist associations and armed formations, with more than 400 people held responsible so far.

Targets of the investigation included employees of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health whom it accused, without providing evidence, of developing weapons of mass destruction, as well as citizens of Britain, the United States, Canada, from the Netherlands and Georgia.

Eight criminal cases have also been launched in attacks on Russian embassies or other representations in the Netherlands, Ireland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and France, he said.

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Reporting by Elaine Monaghan; Edition by Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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