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UK to train Ukrainian judges to carry out war crimes trials for Russian soldiers

The UK will provide training for 90 Ukrainian judges to conduct war crimes trials against Russian soldiers.

Last week’s session saw the first group of judges attend sessions at a secret location. More will follow as part of the PS2.5m investment.

Victoria Prentis, her first interview on Sky News as Attorney General, stated that it would ensure that perpetrators atrocities can be prosecuted – on an unprecedented scale – while the conflict continues.

Most war crimes trials in Ukraine are expected to be handled by Ukrainian judges.


Up to now, 14 Russian soldiers were convicted. The first trial was held in May.

However, there are already 43,000 cases.

“They are prosecuting war crime in real-time,” Ms. Prentis stated. “This is a very violent and live conflict.

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Ukraineis managing all the problems that we know are happening in the country right now, such as power and organizing courts to try war criminals.

“This is very important because justice is important. But also because I hope those Russian soldiers or officers watching the Ukrainian prosecutions will realize that they must comply with international law.

“These 90 judges will return after some intense training to be better equipped to run the courts.”

Image: UK Attorney-General Victoria Prentis

Russia’s ‘Nuremberg’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenkyy and Olena, his wife, visited the UK this month to advocate for the establishment a special tribunal in Ukraine. They have compared it with the Nuremberg trials.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has opened an investigation into Ukraine’s war. But the Zelenskyys believe that a separate tribunal could be established to prosecute a wider variety of crimes.

Although this has not been supported by the UK government explicitly, Ms Prentis stated that all options were being considered in negotiations with the Ukrainian authorities.

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She stated that she was certain that most of these war crimes would be tried in Ukraine by Ukrainian judges, as they have the evidence and witnesses.

“But I am also certain that the international community will desire to see justice done and seen being done. It is not yet clear what that form will take. There are many options.

The French government and President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission President, have now supported a special court that could be used to try Russian leaders on the “crime against aggression”.

Ms. Prentis, who was a long-time government lawyer before she entered politics, said that “I don’t think we ever imagined we would have war crime in Europe again” and that we would need to talk about Nuremberg-style trials.

Sir Howard Morrison is the British judge responsible for the judges’ training. He has worked on the International Criminal Court as well as the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

Image Mr. Howard Morrison states that senior Russians are being tried

Sky News interviewed him about his return to the region following the second three-day session.

Sky News teams witnessed the work mobile justice teams in Ukraine, such as Makariv outside Kyiv where officials claim 130 bodies were discovered in April.

Sir Howard stated that war crimes have an additional dimension when there are mass graves.

“I have spent 25 years staring literally or metaphorically into mass graves. It’s a different exercise than looking at a single body or victim.

“They [judges] are well aware of the need to conduct these trials according to internationally recognized standards.”

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Sir Howard was the judge in the Radovan Karadzic trial. He stated that it was possible for senior Russian leaders to be tried, but it would require time and commitment.

He stated that he was told by the ICT [tribunal to the ex-Yugoslavia] that they would not allow Milosevic, Karadzic, or Mladic to be tried. We did try all three.

“So, you don’t know what the political winds will do in the future. Although it may take a while, you can’t rule out Russia, the Russians and their senior political and military leaders could be brought before an international tribunal.


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