Germany could try Russian war crimes like it did with Syria: Minister

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Germany could try Russian war crimes like it did with Syria: Minister

Russian war crimes could become the focus of German courts, Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said on Thursday, pointing to recent legal action that convicted members of the Syrian regime, reported dpa.

Germany had already used the principle of international jurisdiction to try "[Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad's torturers," Buschmann told lawmakers in Berlin.

"And we will also bring Russian war criminals to justice in Germany if we get hold of them. No one should underestimate our determination," he added.

In a landmark ruling in January, a court in Karlsruhe found a former Syrian intelligence officer guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison. Almost a year before, a younger co-defendant was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for aiding and abetting a crime against humanity.

Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and has been accused of targeting civilians – a charge which Moscow denies – amid intense fighting at several fronts across the country.

The way in which Russian President Vladimir Putin has allowed the war in Ukraine to be waged is "criminal in many respects," Buschmann said.

The minister told the Bundestag parliament in Berlin that evidence of acts considered crimes under international law was currently being gathered. Germany's federal prosecutor, for example, has launched an investigation.


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