Council: Strengthening Fight against War Crimes in Ukraine
On 9 December 2022, the Council adopted conclusions on the fight against impunity in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Council called on Member States to adopt the necessary legislative measures to fully implement the definition of core international crimes and modes of liability enshrined in the Rome Statute and to allow the exercise of universal jurisdiction or other forms of domestic jurisdiction over core international crimes committed abroad.
Member States should also enable close judicial cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and support the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office. In addition, Member States are called on to cooperate with the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group and to strengthen cooperation with EU agencies and stakeholders, such as Eurojust, Europol, the European Judicial Network, the Genocide Network, the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine), and the Network of National Experts on Joint Investigation Teams (JITs Network). The Council further recommended that Member States streamline the collection/sharing of information between relevant authorities and stakeholders who come into contact with war crime victims. Awareness should also be raised among Ukrainian refugees of the possibility of giving testimony in Member States on the core international crimes they may have been victims of and/or witness to.
The Council called on the Commission to support specialized training and capacity-building activities for law enforcement, judicial authorities, and other relevant authorities. The Commission is to enhance the financial, logistical, technical, and substantive support available to Member States in their efforts to efficiently investigate and collect evidence of core international crimes, including increases in the funding of joint investigation teams. The Council asked the Commission to continue supporting national and international investigative and evidence-gathering mechanisms, specifically with respect to battlefield evidence.
EU bodies, including Eurojust, Europol, the Genocide Network, and EUAM Ukraine, are called on to continue providing support and guidance and to enhance their mutual cooperation. Lastly, the Council called on Ukraine to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.