In a historic move, the US Department of Justice has brought criminal charges against four Russian military personnel for war crimes committed on Ukrainian soil. This announcement was made by US Attorney General Merrick Garland during a press conference on December 6, 2023.
“These charges against four Russian military personnel represent the first criminal accusations from the Department of Justice under the US War Crimes Statute. They also mark a significant step toward holding accountable those responsible for the unlawful war conducted by the Russian regime in Ukraine. Our work is far from complete,” emphasized the US Attorney General.
American law enforcement alleges that the four Russians committed crimes against a US citizen residing in Ukraine, including unlawful imprisonment, torture, and inhumane treatment. According to the investigation, in April 2022, Russian Armed Forces officers Suren Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik, along with soldiers Valeriy and Nazar, perpetrated war crimes against an American who had been living in Ukraine since 2021 and was not involved in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
After the capture of Mylove in the Kherson region, Russian military personnel kidnapped the American, subjected him to brutal beatings, tied his hands behind his back, pointed a gun at his head, and simulated execution. Later, he was transferred to a building converted into a prison by the occupiers, where he was held in a cell. During interrogations, the American was also subjected to beatings, torture, and simulated executions, leading him to believe he was about to be killed. Overall, the torture of the American lasted for ten days.
It is worth noting that the US War Crimes Statute empowers American justice to prosecute war crimes committed against US citizens outside the country. This law has been actively used by US justice for the past 30 years.
Attorney General Merrick Garland reminded that American lawyers have previously dealt with the identification and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, and more than 130 cases attest to the successful work of US law enforcement in locating and bringing to justice individuals who evaded accountability for decades.
Source: The Gaze