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France launches 3 war crime investigations against Russian forces

05:15 06 April 2022 Author :  

French prosecutors on Tuesday launched investigations into three cases of alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine, according to media reports.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said his office was investigating war crimes involving French citizens in three Ukrainian cities – Mariupol, Hostomel, and Chernihiv, public broadcaster France24 reported.

France’s Central Office for the Fight against Crimes against Humanity, Genocide, and War Crimes will be conducting the investigation.

The alleged crimes were committed in Mariupol between Feb. 24 and March 16, in Gostomel (Kyiv region) between March 1 and 12, and in Chernihiv since Feb. 24 when Russia launched a war in Ukraine, a BFMTV news report said.

The prosecutor’s office said these crimes are likely to be qualified as war crimes as they were deliberate attacks against civilian infrastructure, life-essential objects, or civilians who were not participating in hostilities, the BFMTV report added.

French courts have jurisdiction to investigate a war crime outside French territory if the victim is a French national, the perpetrator of the alleged war crime is French, or the offender is a foreign national but habitually residing in France.

The prosecutor’s office opened the first case of investigation in March into the death of Franco-Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski. The veteran cameraman for US-based Fox News was killed alongside Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova outside the capital Kyiv, after being struck by fire by the Russian armed forces.

The French government has also offered its assistance and support to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine for gathering evidence in the investigation of war crimes by Russian armed forces in Bucha.

The bodies of at least 410 civilians were recovered in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha on Sunday after the withdrawal of Russian troops, according to Ukraine's prosecutor-general. Russia has denied that its troops killed civilians while withdrawing from towns near Kyiv./agencies

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