[JURIST] An Austrian man was extradited Tuesday from Poland to Austria to face war crimes charges for allegedly killing civilians and surrendering troops while fighting for the Ukrainian army. The 25-year-old man allegedly killed Russian separatists while they were injured or surrendering in eastern Ukraine [BBC backgrounder] last year. State prosecution spokesman Erich Habitzl stated that Benjamin F., as he is being identified by authorities, is being held in police custody [AP report] until they charge him with war crimes against the Donbass freedom fighters, who are members of the Russian separatist Armed Forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic [BBC report]. The suspect denies all accusations.
Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict since the annexation of Crimea [JURIST backgrounder] in March 2014. In July Amnesty International and Human Rights released the 56-page report detailing how Ukrainian government officials and Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine have subjected citizens to [JURIST report] “prolonged, arbitrary detention,” torture, or other forms of inhumane treatment, including refusing necessary medical attention. In June the UN human rights office reported that the human rights situation in Ukraine remains troublesome [JURIST report] following two years of conflict with Russia. A Ukrainian official said in January that the nation plans to sue Russia [JURIST report] in the International Court of Justice on claims of financing terrorism. In March of last year the EU committed to stand by its policy of refusing to recognize Crimea’s annexation [JURIST report].