Ukraine preparing multiple war crime cases

Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova announced May 14 that her office is preparing war crimes cases against 41 suspects, on charges including "the bombing of civilian infrastructure, the killing of civilians, rape and looting." Venediktova has said that her office is investigating more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects.

The first war crime trial since the start of the invasion opened in Kyiv a day earlier. The suspect is a 21-year-old Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka, Sumy oblast, on Feb. 28. Sgt. Vadim Shysimarin is accused of shooting a 62-year old man who was riding his bicycle. Shysimarin has been charged under both international war crimes statutes and with premeditated murder under Ukraine's penal code. The Ministry of Defense has also identified 10 Russian soldiers who may be charged with war crimes for mass killings in the city of Bucha.

International war crime trials are also expected. According to a press release April 22 from the UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) has "received more than 300 allegations of killings of civilians in towns in the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy" in late February and early March. Bachelet emphasized: "Wilful killing of protected persons, including summary executions, are gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and amount to war crimes." (DW, Jurist)

Both the ICC and UN Human Rights Council have opened investigations into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Ukraine seizes assets of Russian oligarch

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova on May 16 announced the seizure of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman’s assets worth 12.4 billion hryvnia (approximately $420 million). The European Union sanctioned Fridman, along with 26 other individuals, in February as part of the EU’s response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Jurist)

Russian soldier pleads guilty to killing civilian in Ukraine

A Russian soldier on May 18 pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian. The plea came during proceedings in the Solomianskyi District Court of Kyiv. During the Battle of Sumy, in Ukraine's east, Vadim Shishimarim shot and killed the man, who was riding a bicycle, "a few meters from [the man's] home" in the town of Chupakhovka. Shishimarim, accused of "violation of the laws and customs of war," faces up to life imprisonment. (Jurist)

Russian soldier gets life for killing Ukrainian civilian

The captured Russian soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a civilian was sentenced by a Ukrainian court to life in prison—the maximum—amid signs the Kremlin may, in turn, put on trial some of the fighters who surrendered at the Mariupol steelworks.

Meanwhile, in a rare public expression of opposition to the war from within the ranks of the Russian political establishment, a top Kremlin diplomat has resigned in protest. Boris Bondarev, a veteran Russian diplomat to the UN office at Geneva, issued a scathing letter  in which he said, "Never have I been so ashamed of my country as on Feb. 24." (AP)

Two Russian soldiers plead guilty to war crimes

Two Russian soldiers on May 26 pleaded guilty in the Kotelevsky District Court of Poltava to war crimes charges for shelling houses and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine’s Kharkiv oblast in the northeast. (Jurist)

Body count rises in Ukraine

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) May 27 reported 8,766 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country on Feb. 24. The figure includes 4,031 killed and 4,735 injured. (Jurist

Wagner Group fighters accused of killing civilians in Ukraine

Two alleged Wagner Group fighters from Belarus have been accused of murdering civilians near Kyiv, making them the first international mercenaries to face war crimes charges in Ukraine. (The Guardian, May 25)

US court orders seizure of Russian oligarch's planes

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued warrants June 6 for the seizure of a Boeing 787-8 aircraft and a Gulfstream G650ER aircraft, worth over $400 million, both owned by Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich. The court found that the airplanes are subject to seizure and forfeiture "based on probable cause of violations" of the Export Control Reform Act  and recent sanctions issued against Russia. (Jurist)