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The European Union on March 4 helped take the first step towards setting up a dedicated tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes against Ukraine.
Over a two-day accountability conference in Ukraine, an agreement is being signed to set up the International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in The Hague.
The joint investigation team, part of Eurojust, the EU agency for criminal justice, will consist of the ICC, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, and Romania.
Eurojust's regulation was amended to allow the agency to secure and analyze evidence of international crimes. As Russia does not recognize the International Criminal Court, which usually prosecutes such crimes, a dedicated, UN-backed tribunal will be established.
"There is increasing evidence of direct attacks against civilians as well as on energy and other infrastructure," said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
"Torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence, and summary executions are known to have been committed by Russian forces. Not even children are being spared. Russia must be held accountable for these horrific crimes."
Ukraine has recorded tens of thousands of war crimes committed by Russia, including rape, forcible abduction, murder of civilians, attacks on civilian infrastructure and others.