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Russia to investigate crimes committed against civilians in Ukraine

June 05, 2014, 18:29 UTC+3 5 5/6
The Investigative Committee intends to bring to justice all officials without exception, servicemen and those who give orders and who finance killing of civilians
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© EPA/JAKUB KAMINSKI

MOSCOW, June 05./ITAR-TASS/.A special department of the Russian Investigative Committee to investigate crimes of the Ukrainian military against civilians was set up within the law and world practice, but the new structure would be faced with difficulties to conduct investigations in the foreign state, Russian lawyers said on Thursday, commenting on the IC's initiative to set up a special structure.

The Investigative Committee on Wednesday announced that a special department was set up to investigate crimes committed in Ukraine against civilians. It would operate until all Ukrainian servicemen and other persons who committed crimes against civilians were brought to justice, IC spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

But the new department may be faced with problems in its activities.

Lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky has said it is an obligation for Russian investigative authorities to probe crimes committed against Russian citizens in Ukraine. He noted cruelty of actions of the Ukrainian military and lawlessness of the so-called "antiterrorist operation".

"Article 12 of the Russian Criminal Code allows initiating legal proceedings against foreign citizens who have committed crimes against Russian citizens and Russian interests. In Ukraine we see crimes against humanity that are aimed directly against Russia and Russians and that must be investigated," Agranovsky said.

lawyer Igor Trunov has agreed that crimes of the Ukrainian military must be investigated, but noted the IC's definition of the issue was narrow, when it was not declared that it was necessary also to investigate crimes committed in other foreign states.

"The Investigative Committee must not be a politicized body. The emphasis on Ukraine in this case leads to doubts the need arose long ago to step up investigations against those who ordered terrorist attacks in Russia and those who committed crimes against Russians in third countries, but not in Ukraine alone, Trunov said.

If there is no state in the world capable to acknowledge what is obvious, that the Ukrainian authorities' actions are criminal, the Investigative Committee of Russia takes such responsibility, opening a criminal case Vladimir Markin IC's official spokesman The lawyer noted it was world practice. It is used in the United States to protect its interests. It was a long-awaited initiative, he noted, adding he hoped investigators would enlarge the circle of their activities.

An attorney of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Konstantin Rivkin, believes the Investigative Committee's activities will be confronted with resistance of Ukrainian authorities and may be ineffective.

An attorney of politician Boris Nemtsov, Vadim Kobzev, either has not criticized the lawful activities of the IC, but supposes the creation of the new department would not improve the investigation quality.

"These are the same investigators, and quality of their actions will not improve after the creation of a new department. We can talk only about attraction of public attention to the acute problem. But the policy is not new for our Investigative Committee," Kobzev says.

On May 30, the IC's official spokesman Vladimir Markin said the main department of the IC had opened a criminal case against unidentified servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces and persons from units of the Ukrainian National Guards and the Right Sector over the facts of firing at the cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Mariupol and other residential areas in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk republics. The criminal case was opened on charges of use of prohibited means and methods of war, Markin said.

"If there is no state in the world capable to acknowledge what is obvious, that the Ukrainian authorities' actions are criminal, the Investigative Committee of Russia takes such responsibility, opening a criminal case," Markin said.

Markin said earlier that investigators intended to question Ukrainian refugees who, if there were grounds, would be recognized as victims. Legal assistance would be provided for them, he said, adding that it would be explained to them that they had the right to apply to the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.

The IC intends to bring to justice all officials without exception, servicemen who directly participate in the anti-terrorist operations and those who give orders and who finance killing of civilians.

In this connection, the Investigative Committee will give a legal assessment to actions of Ukrainian parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the Dnepropetrovsk region's governor Igor Kolomoisky and others. 

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