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US will assist Ukraine to assist Ukraine War Crimes prosecution

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II’s, Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II’s and a RAAF E-7A Wedgetail conduct a capabilities demonstration at RAAF Base Tindal, Northern Territory, Australia, Aug. 19, 2022. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Pacific Air Force train routinely alongside Allies and partners to enhance interoperability and bolster the collective ability to support a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tristan Biese)

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin met today in Washington to discuss ways to hold accountable those accountable for atrocities and war crimes in the aftermath of Russia’s provocative and unjust invasion of Ukraine. The leaders outlined areas for enhanced collaboration and also signed a memorandum understanding (MOU) that will enable appropriate cooperation, coordination, and deconfliction between their respective prosecutions and investigations.

“The United States stands by the people of Ukraine in their tireless pursuit to uphold the rule of law and seek justice for victims in the face of Russia’s continued aggression,” said U.S. Attorney General Garland. “Today, the Department of Justice and the Prosecutor General’s Office announced that we will work more closely to find and apprehend those who were involved in war crimes as well as other atrocities committed in Ukraine. We will not stop in our efforts to hold perpetrators accountable.”

“The MOU we signed today allows us to step up our common efforts in ensuring accountability for international crimes,” said Ukraine Prosecutor General Kostin. “Through establishing a formal framework of cooperation, we will strengthen effective investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine and provide a measure of justice to victims.”

The U.S.-Ukraine MOU will promote efficiency in investigations and prosecutions by in accordance with national laws, removing obstacles to prompt and efficient exchanges of information and evidence in investigations and prosecutions by both countries, and increasing the ease with that technical cooperation could be offered.

The MOU builds on prior efforts of the department in the aftermath of the Attorney General’s visit to Ukraine in June 21, 2022. During that trip, Attorney General Garland announced the creation of a War Crimes Accountability Team to consolidate and enhance the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to make accountable those who committed atrocities, war crimes, and other crimes in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. The team brings together the department’s top experts in investigations that involve human rights violations, war crimes, and other atrocities. The team provides a broad range of technical assistance, including operational assistance and advice regarding criminal prosecutions as well as evidence collection, forensics, and relevant legal analysis. The primary focus of the team’s mission is to conduct ongoing investigations into possible war crimes over which the United States possesses jurisdiction, for example, the killing and wounding of U.S. journalists covering the unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine.

They also discussed the importance of continuing efforts to counter Russian illicit financial transactions and sanctions escape. In March, Attorney General Garland announced the creation of Task Force KleptoCapture (TFKC) to make use of the department’s tools and resources to combat efforts to evade or undermine collective actions of the U.S. Government in response to Russian military aggression. TFKC is an interagency law enforcement taskforce based from the office of the Deputy Attorney General is committed to enforcing broad sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its allies and partners from abroad, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military occupation of Ukraine. Since its inception the task force has helped facilitate the confiscation and forfeiture assets, including superyachts as well as airplanes, of sanctioned individuals with relations to the Russian regime; demolished Russian criminal networks and enforced sanctions for violations, in addition to other actions.

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