‘No immunity’: Canada joins G7 pledge to coordinate Russian war crimes investigations – National

Canada is working with its G7 counterparts to coordinate investigations into alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Justice Minister David Lametti issued the Berlin Declaration alongside other G7 justice ministers, which pledged « no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities ».

« The criminal prosecution of core international crimes is of the highest priority for us, » read the statement, released on Tuesday.

“We will therefore ensure that there is a central national point of contact in each State for the prosecution of these international crimes, if one does not currently exist, and will share contact details with our partners in order to provide an entry easily accessible for international coordination. »

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War crimes have been committed in Ukraine, according to a UN-mandated investigation

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The statement follows months of a brutal war in Ukraine, which began earlier this year when Russia invaded the country with the aim of illegally annexing large swathes of its territory.

On September 23, a UN-mandated investigative body found that war crimes, including rape, torture and kidnapping of children, had been committed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

« Based on the evidence collected by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine, » Erik Mose, who heads the Ukraine Commission of Inquiry, told the Human Rights Council. United Nations man in Geneva by unveiling the findings.

Investigators from the commission, set up by the rights council in March, visited 27 locations and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses.

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They found evidence of a large number of executions, including bodies with their hands tied, throats slit and gunshot wounds to the head, Mose said. Investigators had identified victims of sexual violence, he added, ranging in age from four to 82.

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Russia, meanwhile, has denied deliberately attacking civilians and has denounced the alleged atrocities as a Western smear campaign.

Despite this denial, the G7 justice ministers went into overdrive in their Berlin statement.

“We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian Federation flagrantly violates international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations,” the statement read.

“We also condemn in the strongest terms the ongoing attacks, the killings and injuries of civilians, non-combatants and prisoners of war, the disappearance of children, the systemic targeting of critical infrastructure and the extensive damage caused to health personnel and facilities, as well as conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence in Ukraine.

The statement said the « shared objective » of the G7 countries was « to hold offenders accountable in proceedings conducted under the rule of law and due process ».

« We remain true to our shared commitment to achieving this goal, » the statement read.

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Investigations into alleged war crimes, G7 ministers said, must be coordinated « from the start ».

« This will further assist our investigative authorities to proceed efficiently, avoid duplication of work and re-traumatization of victims and witnesses, and prevent gaps in investigations, » they wrote.

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« To this end, we will strive to increase the use of existing and proven mechanisms in accordance with their respective mandates. »

In the statement, the ministers said they will work with relevant NGOs and Ukrainian authorities as this work unfolds.

It will also use the Genocide Network – a body responsible for investigating and prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the Council of the European Union – as a “network of national contact points” to facilitate the sharing of information.

“We confirm our continued efforts to support Ukrainian judicial authorities,” the statement read.

— with files from Reuters, The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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