Legal professional Basic Merrick B. Garland made an unannounced go to to Ukraine on Friday to reaffirm America’s dedication to assist maintain Russia accountable for conflict crimes, a Justice Division spokeswoman stated.
Mr. Garland held a number of conferences with President Volodymyr Zelensky and overseas legislation enforcement officers in Lviv, whereas attending the United for Justice Convention, the division stated in an e mail.
In the course of the convention, Mr. Garland “reaffirmed our willpower to carry Russia accountable for crimes dedicated in its unjust and unprovoked invasion in opposition to its sovereign neighbor,” the e-mail stated.
Mr. Zelensky, in his nightly handle, stated the thrust of the convention was to carry Russia’s management to account for atrocities dedicated by its military, a place he has hammered residence repeatedly during the last 12 months of conflict. “The primary subject of all these conferences and the Lviv convention is accountability,” he stated.
Mr. Garland’s go to, which was not public prematurely for safety considerations, comes on the heels of President Biden’s journey to Kyiv final month — and two days after Mr. Garland advised members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was decided to carry Russians accountable for conflict crimes they’re committing in Ukraine.
Mr. Garland, a former federal choose whose household escaped the Holocaust in Japanese Europe, singled out Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Moscow-allied Wagner paramilitary group.
“Mr. Prigozhin, who runs this factor, is in my opinion a conflict legal — and possibly that’s an inappropriate for me to say with as a choose earlier than getting all of the proof,” Mr. Garland advised the committee.
Mr. Garland added that he believes the group “is accountable for the assaults on Ukrainians within the Donbas” and accused them of utilizing prisoners from Russia “as cannon fodder” in Ukraine.
Final June, Mr. Garland made one other surprise trip to Ukraine, the place he met for an hour with Ukraine’s prosecutor normal on the time, Iryna Venediktova, within the village of Krakovets, a few mile from the border with Poland, to debate the technical, forensic and authorized help that america may present, division officers stated.
He used the go to to announce the appointment of Eli Rosenbaum, a veteran prosecutor identified for investigating former Nazis, to guide American efforts in monitoring Russian conflict criminals.
The division is presently helping Ukrainian prosecutors and its nationwide police pressure with retrieving, storing and analyzing huge quantities of proof being collected in connections with potential Russian abuses and atrocities.
In September, Mr. Garland met with Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s present prosecutor normal, in Washington to debate these efforts and to signal a memorandum of understanding to extend coordination between their two businesses. They met once more in Lviv, Ukraine, on Friday.