G7 justice ministers adopt Berlin Declaration: Russia must be held to account for crimes in Ukraine
“There can be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities. Criminal prosecution of core international crimes is of the highest priority to us… It is our common goal to establish the responsibility of offenders in proceedings conducted in compliance with the rule of law and due process to achieve maximum accountability and to deliver justice for victims and survivors,” reads the document.
🇨🇦🇯🇵🇺🇸🇮🇹🇫🇷🇬🇧🇩🇪 - die sieben größten Industrienationen stehen an der Seite der #Ukraine. Am Montag und Dienstag treffen sich die Justizminister der G7-Staaten in Berlin - zum ersten Mal überhaupt. Das Thema: die Verfolgung von Kriegsverbrechen. BM @MarcoBuschmann zu #G7Justice: pic.twitter.com/sdNBCrFsFS— Bundesministerium der Justiz (@bmj_bund) November 26, 2022
The investigation into the crimes under international law committed in Ukraine became the main topic of the meeting.
"We have met for the first time. Putin's criminal war of aggression against Ukraine catapulted us into a new era. We oppose historical injustice with unity and determination," said the host of the meeting, German Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann.
He noted that it was agreed to coordinate the activities of investigative and prosecutorial bodies to avoid duplication. It was also decided to create a central national contact point for the prosecution of international criminals in each state.
Apart from purely technical points, according to Buschmann, Berlin sends a political signal today: "we clearly show that G7 countries are strong not only economically, we are a community of values, we feel our responsibility for the principles of liberal democracy – humanism, human rights, respect for law A clear signal: there can be no impunity for war crimes."
The German Federal Minister of Justice admitted that the trial of crimes in Ukraine would last for years, perhaps even decades, but the friends of Ukraine will be well prepared and patient. In addition to Ukraine, the Office of the German Federal Public Prosecutor, the International Criminal Court, and authorities in other countries also conduct investigations. In Ukraine alone, according to Buschmann, 45,000 crimes have already been documented and 2,000 suspects have been identified. This shows the scale of the task.
Buschmann emphasized that war criminals have no right and will not feel safe wherever they are. He expressed his belief that in the end the top leadership of the Russian Federation will also appear before the court, not only the direct perpetrators.
Commenting on Ukraine’s idea to create a special tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression, Buschmann said that it is important not to replace the International Criminal Court. "There are various options, we are consulting on this... The special tribunal is one of the options," the politician said.
The Ministers of Justice of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, met in Berlin today with the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, the EU Commissioner for Justice, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Federal Public Prosecutor General of Germany.
The meeting in Berlin was the first one. The G7 justice ministers are expected to meet again next year.
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