Washington — US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday that the US Justice Department plans to appoint a prosecutor and a legal adviser to support Ukraine’s investigation and prosecution of suspected war crimes committed by Russian forces. The prosecutor will be based at Eurojust, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation in The Hague, while a resident legal adviser will be dispatched to the US Embassy in Kyiv later this summer.
Garland made the announcement following a meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. He noted that Ukrainian prosecutors have been collaborating with the Justice Department to investigate war crimes for which the US has jurisdiction, such as the killing or injuring of Americans. He also stated that Congress recently granted the department expanded authority to prosecute war criminals found within the US.
Garland expressed optimism about the progress made thus far in the investigation, stating that they have made good progress in identifying suspects. He added that the investigation is going well.
The move by the Justice Department underscores the US commitment to supporting Ukraine and holding accountable those responsible for war crimes. The appointment of a prosecutor and legal adviser highlights the importance of international cooperation in the pursuit of justice and the need for accountability for crimes committed during times of conflict.
Russia denies involvement in war crimes and attacking civilians but welcomes assistance in investigating specific cases. Ukraine is in talks with US intelligence agencies to share intelligence information. Last June, AG Garland appointed Eli Rosenbaum to lead the War Crimes Accountability Team, and in March 2022, the department launched KleptoCapture to enforce sanctions and export restrictions against Russia.