October 6, 2022
The top prosecutor for the International Criminal Court was back in Ukraine to visit the city of Kharkiv, the latest city where alleged war crimes have taken place.

The top prosecutor for the International Criminal Court was back in Ukraine to visit the city of Kharkiv, the latest city where alleged war crimes have taken place.

The day before Karim Khan visited the second-largest city in Ukraine, Amnesty International released a report that found the “repeated bombardments of residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv are indiscriminate attacks which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, and as such constitute war crimes.”

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The director of the medical department of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration told Amnesty International that more than 600 residents had been killed and more than another 1,200 had been wounded from the start of the war through April 28, the report explained. The last six weeks of the war are not included in those tallies.

“The continued use of such inaccurate explosive weapons in populated civilian areas, in the knowledge that they are repeatedly causing large numbers of civilian casualties, may even amount to directing attacks against the civilian population,” it added. “Amnesty International researchers documented seven cluster munition strikes in different neighborhoods all over the city, where they found fins and pellets/fragments of cluster submunitions, as well as fragments of Uragan rockets known to carry such munitions.”

While exploring the ravaged city, Khan told reporters, “This is a time we must show that the law is on the frontlines. All involved in the conflict have responsibilities and can be held accountable when crimes are committed. Our team is on the ground, working to uncover the truth.”

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office has opened nearly 15,000 cases of alleged war crimes, including the targeting of civilians, the office announced at the beginning of the month. The office has another 7,200 cases regarding the crime of aggression, another type of war crime that targets those who plan and initiate an act of aggression using a state military force.

The prosecutors have handed down eight indictments, and three Russian soldiers have been convicted of crimes. Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin will spend his life in prison for killing a Ukrainian man in the city of Suny, while two others were sentenced to more than a decade in prison for their roles in firing rockets from Russia’s Belgorod region toward Kharkiv at the start of the war.

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The war recently surpassed its 100th day, and the Russians’ depravity has been on display in more than just Kharkiv, specifically in cities they temporarily occupied and later gave up. Mass graves filled with women and children were found in Bucha. They bombed a maternity hospital and a theater that was acting as a shelter in Mariupol.

The prosecutor general has also spoken about Russian soldiers raping women and girls, while a U.S. official has spoken of “torture chambers” in the Russian-controlled city of Kherson.

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