The first war crimes trial in Ukraine will open on Wednesday. A young Russian soldier is accused of shooting dead a 62-year-old man near Sumy, in the north of the country. A village illustrates the atrocities committed by the Russians during the occupation: that of Bucha, near kyiv, where hundreds of civilians were victims of exactions.
With Murielle Paradon and Sami Boukhelifa, RFI Special Envoys
It is a woman beaten by life who receives us in her modest house in Bucha. Olga Petrova, 68, evokes the painful memory of her son Yevhen, who disappeared during the Russian occupation. The police did not find him until April 14, two weeks after the liberation of the city, in an empty house.
“Some people from Bucha returned to their houses after the occupation. And they saw grenades hanging on their doors. So they called the police or bomb squad, I don’t know. Then they went in and saw my son’s body with a bullet in his head through the back,” says Olga.
Since he was carrying a passport, the police were able to identify him. They took a picture and came to my house. I recognized him, despite the state of the body, he was my son.
Yevhen was 45 years old, with a wife and three children. An ordinary man, according to his mother, a worker who had been doing volunteer work since the beginning of the war. But while the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has announced the dispatch of more than 40 investigators and experts to work on war crimes in Ukraine, Olga Petrova expects nothing from justice.
“I don’t expect any answers, because I’m sure there weren’t any witnesses. Otherwise, I would have died alongside him. I believe in divine justice. That is where those who did this will be punished. What kind of man is capable of That? Especially since my son didn’t do anything. He only helped his neighbors by distributing medicine. Justice? I don’t care, I’ve lost my son,” laments the old woman.
Despite the pain, Olga says that she has no feelings of revenge. “I don’t wish ill on anyone,” she says.
ICC to send 42 experts to investigate war crimes in Ukraine
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Tuesday the dispatch to Ukraine of a team of 42 experts, the largest in number of troops in the history of the court, to investigate the accusations of war crimes committed during the Russian invasion .
“I confirm that today my office sent a team composed of 42 investigators, criminalistics experts and other support personnel to Ukraine,” Karim Khan said in a statement, indicating that it is “the most important mission in terms of troops ever deployed on Ukraine.” the ground at once.
The team’s mission is to “advance our investigations into crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction and provide support to the Ukrainian authorities,” he added.
The prosecutor of the ICC, a court created in 2002, opened an investigation on accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine on March 3, after receiving the green light from almost 40 state parties.
Khan visited Ukraine, including the town of Bucha, near kyiv, where at least 20 bodies were discovered on April 2. Ukraine “is a crime scene,” he said then.
kyiv blames Russian forces for hundreds of civilian killings but Moscow denies being responsible and described the Bucha events as false.
“Thanks to the deployment of a team of investigators, we will be better able to follow leads and collect testimony in relation to military strikes that may constitute crimes under the Rome Statute,” Khan said on Tuesday.
The ICC prosecutor also thanked the Dutch government for its cooperation in deploying a “significant number of national experts” in support of the court’s mission, based in The Hague, the Netherlands.
“Now more than ever we have to show that the law has its place in the events that are taking place,” he said.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte He indicated that he had discussed the matter on Tuesday with visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in The Hague.
“One of the ways to show our support is through the Dutch forensic investigation team that will be joining the war crimes investigation in Ukraine this week,” Rutte tweeted.
Kuleba, for his part, said there were “very positive” signs that the perpetrators can be brought to justice and gave as an example the ongoing trial in the Netherlands for the 2014 shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine.