War crimes in Ukraine: France sets up its own investigative cell

War crimes in Ukraine: France sets up its own investigative cell

An investigative unit dedicated to Ukraine has been established within the Office of Crimes Against Humanity (OCLCH). A decision made with the aim of centralizing files on suspected war crimes committed in that country, General Jean-Philippe Reiland, head of the bureau, told AFP on Tuesday.

Call for testimonials

Currently, this unit, composed of around ten investigators, is in charge of seven cases initiated in France relating to crimes committed in Ukraine involving French nationals. Five of these investigations have been launched since the Russian invasion and two relate to older facts in Donbass. This structure, set up shortly after the offensive by Vladimir Putin’s troops, also deals with handrails dumped by Ukrainian refugees in police stations or gendarmerie brigades, General Reiland added. Questionnaires in several languages ​​(Ukrainian, Russian, English, French) were distributed in the different law enforcement agencies to help complainants.

Refugee aid associations have also been sensitized to encourage them to come and bear witness.

“The goal is to inform the investigations of the International Criminal Court and the Ukrainians, which is happening in Europe as well,” the general continued. The head of the OCLCH accompanied the French anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard from September 12 to 16 in the Kyiv region. They took part in the investigations of the Ukrainian judicial authorities, which were asked by the French judiciary to step up their investigations.

Investigations into the death of two journalists

Two journalists are involved in the investigation launched into possible war crimes against the French. Pierre Zakrzewski, a Franco-Irish cameraman for Fox News, was killed on March 14 in Horenka, northwest of the Ukrainian capital, after his vehicle was attacked. Then, on May 30, Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a journalist from BFMTV, was assassinated while following a humanitarian mission in the east of the country. On site, for example, the French delegation had access to the shell of Pierre Zakrzewki’s car to take samples and create 3D models. Then experts will determine the type of projectile and the origin of the shot.

On the other hand, it was not possible for the delegation to continue east, where the vehicle in which the BFMTV journalist was killed is located. “But, the general stressed, the Ukrainian judicial and police authorities have the means to do so and are well aware of requests for mutual assistance.”

“The cooperation of the Ukrainian judicial and police authorities was absolute,” prosecutor Ricard welcomed in an interview with AFP on Friday, September 23.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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