I’m grateful to Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and the Polish Government for hosting this Leadership Forum, and to our UK and EU colleagues for their partnership over the last year to set up the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group.
To Ukraine Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin: we salute your courage, and the commitment you bring on behalf of the Ukrainian people, who have suffered unspeakable crimes. We’re honored to be working alongside you, your team, and so many others – ACA implementers, partner organizations, contractors, and the many people in Ukraine bravely sharing their stories – to hold Russia accountable for its crimes.
Since Russia launched its war against Ukraine, Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General has registered 80,000 war crimes cases committed by members of Russia’s forces. Eighty thousand cases.
Cases of civilians killed, or forced to flee their homes… of civilians beaten and tortured… of women and girls raped… of hospitals and schools targeted…. of children – thousands of Ukrainian children – abducted and deported to Russia. A crime intended to steal Ukraine’s very future.
These acts are part of the Kremlin’s widespread and systematic attack against Ukrainian civilians. They constitute crimes against humanity. And they are still being committed today.
The United States is committed to pursuing accountability for Russia’s atrocities, including war crimes. We’re doing that through several pathways.
We’re supporting action in international courts and multilateral institutions – including the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation, based on a referral by a record 43 States Parties, the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, and UN Commission of Inquiry.
We’re assisting with strategic litigation in countries around the world, including in Europe.
And we are helping strengthen the capacity of Ukrainian institutions, led by the Prosecutor General, to document, investigate, and prosecute war crimes in Ukrainian courts.
The majority of atrocities cases from this war will be investigated and prosecuted in the Ukrainian justice system. We launched the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group to support that effort.
Over the past year, this team has done extraordinary work. Independent experts across many fields have helped document evidence, carry out investigations, build cases, and support mechanisms that will lead to effective prosecution of those responsible. Hundreds of trials have already had initial hearings.
And in your support of a fair, independent justice process, the ACA team demonstrates one of democracy’s strengths: its respect for the truth and for genuine accountability. To complement ACA efforts and further deliver on shared accountability goals, the United States also supports the development of a Special Tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. We look forward to exploring with Ukraine and our partners the establishment of such a tribunal: one that could be rooted in Ukraine’s domestic judicial systemand bolstered by significant international elements.
No matter how long it takes, the United States – and all our ACA partners – are committed to pursuing justice for Ukraine and its people.
We do so, remembering the people we are fighting for and standing with. People like Dmytro, a father from Uman.
Late last month, Dmytro was awoken in the night by a bomb blast. He raced down the hall in his high-rise building to his children’s bedroom and wrenched opened the door. What he saw will forever haunt him. In his words: “There was no room. Just a cloud of fire and smoke.”
At least 25 people were killed by Russian missiles that night – including Dmytro’s children: 17-year-old Kyrylo and 11-year-old Sophia. Following the attack, the Russian defense ministry posted a picture of a missile launch on social media with a caption: “Right On Target.”
To Dmytro and millions of victims and survivors:we are committed to uncovering the truth, holding those responsible accountable, and preventing future atrocities. That’s what we mean by justice. That is our promise to you – and that is why this work continues.