Espreso. Global

Austrian prosecutors urged to investigate sexual crimes by Russian military during Kyiv region's occupation

2 July, 2024 Tuesday
11:34

The Austrian human rights organization CEHRI and the Clooney Foundation for Justice have requested prosecutors to investigate sexual violence crimes committed by Russian soldiers

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CFJ's website reported the information.

“The Center for the Enforcement of Human Rights International (CEHRI) and the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) filed a case with the Austrian federal prosecutor today requesting an investigation into crimes of sexual violence and murder committed in Ukraine by Russian forces. The organizations submitted detailed evidence against the perpetrators and are representing two women who were raped by Russian soldiers who occupied their village in the Kyiv area in the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022,” the statement said.

"Olena" and "Olga" (names changed) were taken from their homes at night by drunken Russian soldiers led by a commander.

“The soldiers first came to Olena’s home. When she asked whether the soldiers would kill her, the commander answered that she had nothing to fear because 'the boys just want to have some fun.' The soldiers then went to Olha’s house. When her husband tried to prevent them from taking her away, the soldiers shot him dead on the spot. After being repeatedly raped and subjected to other forms of sexual abuse, both women managed to escape,” the statement said.

The village was later liberated by the Ukrainian military. One of the women remained there, while the other left for Austria.

The case involves the perpetrators of the crimes, as well as seven mid- and senior-level commanders identified by the CFJ initiative as suspects in the crimes. The case contains detailed evidence gathered during field investigations, as well as a comprehensive analysis of open sources and other supporting evidence.

The Austrian human rights organization CEHRI conducted an analysis that showed that “Austria has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute these crimes as war crimes and crimes against humanity in Austrian national courts, based on extraterritorial principles of jurisdiction. This includes the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows states to investigate and prosecute the most serious international crimes regardless of where they were committed or the nationality of the offender or victims. This principle is based on the understanding that such crimes concern the international community as a whole,” the press release says.

CEHRI and CFJ called on the Austrian authorities to open a criminal investigation and issue arrest warrants for the suspects, which would allow for their arrest, extradition and prosecution. The Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed to the Austrian news agency APA that the application had been submitted to them and that further steps would be taken.

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