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Russian War Crimes in Ukraine

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562 Washington, DC United States

Members

Senator Ben Cardin

Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Steve Cohen

Co-Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Senator Roger Wicker

Ranking Member

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Commissioner

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Witnesses

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Wolfgang Benedek

Professor of International Law (ret.)

University of Graz

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Veronika Bílková

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law

Charles University in Prague

Marco Sassoli

Professor of International Law

University of Geneva

Beth Van Schaack

U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice

Timothy Snyder

Professor of History, Yale University

Permanent Fellow, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna

Iryna Venediktova

Prosecutor General, Ukraine

Well-documented Russian bombings and missile strikes in Ukraine have decimated hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings, including a theater in Mariupol where hundreds of children were sheltering and the Kramatorsk rail station where thousands were waiting to escape the Russian onslaught. The withdrawal of Russian troops from towns like Bucha, Chernihiv, and Sumy has revealed horrific scenes of civilian carnage, mass graves, and reports of rape and torture. Several world leaders have accused Russia of committing genocide against the people of Ukraine.

In March, 45 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) states began proceedings to “establish the facts and circumstances of possible cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity…and to collect, consolidate, and analyze this information with a view to presenting it to relevant accountability mechanisms.”  The resulting report, issued on April 14, found “clear patterns of international humanitarian law violations by the Russian forces” and recommended further investigations to “establish individual criminal responsibility for war crimes.” The Government of Ukraine, Ukrainian NGOs, and the International Criminal Court are collecting evidence for use in future legal proceedings.

Witnesses at the hearing discussed the findings of the OSCE report, examined evidence being collected to document Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and analyzed paths to bring perpetrators to justice.

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