US attorney general visits Ukraine, seeks probe into Russian war crimes
Washington DC, Mar 4 (EFE).- United States’ Attorney General Merrick Garland has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Joint Investigation Team that is investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine, during a surprise visit to the war-ravaged nation.
“We will back our contribution with the full force and weight of the United States government. You have our commitment that we will do everything in our power to achieve the accountability necessary for true justice,” the US official said at a conference in Lviv, Ukraine, according to a statement released late on Friday.
The US department of justice said in the statement that the MoU will facilitate cooperation with the JIT, in which the International Criminal Court is also a participant.
Garland’s unannounced Ukraine visit comes over a week after US President Joe Biden traveled to Kyiv to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to mark an year of the Russian invasion being launched.
In Lviv, the US top prosecutor said that Washington had launched its own “criminal investigations into war crimes in Ukraine that may violate US law.”
He added that although they were still interviewing witnesses and gathering proof, “specific suspects” had already been identified by the US.
During his visit, Garland met Zelenskyy and European and Polish officials participating in the “United for Justice” conference, in which politicians, activists and lawyers from different countries gathered to discuss how to speed up legal mechanism to ensure trials against international crimes, especially with regard to the Russian aggression.
During the event, Zelenskyy stressed that the invasion itself was a crime that paved the path for other crimes in Ukraine, such as murder and torture of civilians in towns like Bucha and Yahidne, or the thousands of missile and drone attacks that have destroyed dozens of localities.
The US attorney general had already carried out a surprise Ukraine visit in June 2022, when he met the Ukrainian prosecutor general of the time to discuss international efforts to probe Russian war crimes. EFE