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January 31, 2023
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Romanian Prosecutors to Investigate War Crimes against Romanian Citizens in Ukraine

According to a press release, Romanian military prosecutors will investigate war crimes in Ukraine against Romanian citizens, probing the cases of crimes against humanity following the invasion.

After the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, announced that Romania would join Ukraine’s case against Russia in the International Court of Justice, the General Prosecutor’s Office’s Military Prosecutor’s Section is making a step forward, opening a criminal case to investigate crimes against humanity against Russia. Romania’s military prosecutors are to investigate the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the residents of the neighbouring country who are of Romanian nationality.

The Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice has taken ex officio action about the perpetration of crimes against humanity, provided for by Art. 439 para. (1) letters g) and k) of the Criminal Code. The competence to carry out investigations falls on the Military Prosecutor’s Section. Concretely, the following were determined: on 24.02.2022, the Russian Federation launched an ample military operation (by air, land and sea) to invade Ukraine – an independent and sovereign state. According to available public information, the military attack is widespread and systematic, directed against both military and civilian targets, resulting in the shelling of schools, hospitals, and shopping malls and directly affecting Ukraine’s civilian population. The consequences of the attack are particularly serious, inflicting a large number of deaths – children included – and injuries among the civilian population. At the same time, as a result of psychological trauma caused by the military attack of the Russian Federation, millions of civilians have left the territory of Ukraine, currently having the status of refugees, including in the region of Romania.

 Romanian General Prosecutor’s Office press realease

According to Art. 10 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the prosecutor’s office contends that offences committed by a foreign national against a Romanian national beyond the nation’s borders are likewise subject to Romanian criminal law.

The Romanian criminal investigative agencies exercise jurisdiction following the universality principle. The investigations also consider whether Ukrainian nationals also hold Romanian citizenship.

According to Andriy Pasichnyk, Deputy Director of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania’s participation in the case strengthens Ukraine’s position. Romania’s decision to take action to investigate the crimes in Ukraine demonstrates the genocide of the Donbas people and that any laws did not authorize the purported special operation conducted by Russia.

Although this concerns only the crimes against the victims having Romanian citizenship, it is a significant step taken by the international community to reveal the crimes committed during the invasion. Undoubtedly, the results of this investigation, once conducted, would be used by the international tribunals to open a case against the aggressors.

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