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Australia backs Russia war crime probes

Australia has joined with the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand in backing the pursuit of prosecutions over Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash co-signed a statement on Friday supporting Ukraine prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova in ensuring accountability for war crimes committed during the Russian invasion.

Senator Cash made it clear prosecutions within Australia’s jurisdiction would also be supported.

“We support the pursuit of justice by Ukraine and through other international investigations, including at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and in our own jurisdictions, in order to the ensure prompt, fair and effective investigation and prosecution of such offences under Ukrainian, domestic or international law,” the joint statement said.

“We join in condemning the Russian government for its actions, and call upon it to cease all violations of international law, to halt its illegal invasion and to cooperate in efforts to achieve accountability.”

The attorneys-general said they looked forward to working with Ukraine “to ensure every perpetrator faces justice”.

Ms Venediktova’s office is reportedly readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offences that include bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

It was not immediately clear how many of the suspects are in Ukrainian hands and how many would be tried in absentia.

Investigators have been collecting evidence of possible war crimes to bring before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

A Russian soldier pleaded guilty this week in the first war crimes trial since the start of the war to shooting a civilian on orders from two officers.

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