Ukrainian prosecutor general announce 6,500 instances of war crimes, ICC heads to Bucha to investigate

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The Ukrainian Prosecutor General on Thursday said it had found 6,492 cases of alleged crimes of aggression and war crimes since the onslaught of Russia’s invasion nearly 50 days ago. 

The governmental body said the majority of these alleged instances fell under the category of “breaking the law and customs of war,” while some cases were also believed to have been involved in “planning, preparing for or starting and waging an aggressive war” along with fueling “propaganda of war” strategies. 

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The prosecutor’s office pointed to 570 “suspects” affiliated with the military or in the political sphere who are believed to have been involved. 

Another 2,941 “crimes against national security” were also announced. 

The number of Ukrainians killed since fighting began in February remains unclear.

The United Nations on Wednesday said 4,450 civilian casualties had been verified with 1,892 killed and 2,558 injured, but actual figures are expected to be much higher. 

Mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said this week that the death toll in the partially besieged city is believed to be well over 10,000 and could surpass 20,000 following weeks of intense bombardment by Russian troops.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that “massacres” have occurred in Borodyanka, Hostomel and Makariv, along with cities and villages in the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and the Donbas regions.

Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Moscow’s mass human rights abuses first caught global attention earlier this month after Russian troops vacated areas surrounding the capital city of Kyiv and more than 400 civilians in the suburb of Bucha were found to have been killed and left in streets or in mass graves. 

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, traveled to Bucha this week to launch the international court’s investigation into the alleged war crimes. 

“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth,” Khan said in an ICC Twitter post. 

The chief prosecutor also traveled to Borodyanka, an area roughly 30 minutes from Bucha, to investigate additional claims of war crimes Thursday.

FILE - Karim Ahmed Khan, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Justice in the Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 12, 2021. 

FILE – Karim Ahmed Khan, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Justice in the Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 12, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Marwan Ali, File)

“Responsibility for the Russian military for war crimes is inevitable. We will drag them all to the tribunal,” Zelenskyy said in a Wednesday address. “And not only for what was done in Bucha.”

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The Ukrainian president also pointed “tens of thousands” of mines that Russian troops left behind in residential areas as an additional attempt to further maim and kill Ukrainian citizens. 

Poland and Lithuania have also set up teams that will investigate Russia for war crimes in coordination with the ICC. 

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