Two Russian artillerymen, were sentenced to 11.5 years in prison in Ukraine Tuesday for war crimes. The Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office charged Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov with violating Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which governs war crimes. The court found that the men had “destroyed critical infrastructure and residential buildings” by shelling civilian targets in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv, and Dergachiv in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast.
Bobikin and Ivanov allege they committed the war crimes at the behest of the Russian military in Malinovka, Russia, just over the Ukraine-Russia border. Both plead guilty to war crimes, leading to a reduction in their sentence from 12 to 11.5 years. No civilians were killed during the shelling committed by Bobikin and Ivanov, but some were injured.
The sentencing comes as Ukraine’s lead prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, announced the identification of 600 Russian war crime suspects and prosecutions for 80 of these suspects. Venediktova also announced that Estonia, Latvia, and Slovakia have joined Ukraine’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into Russian war crimes, which also includes the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Venediktova stated:
This is a powerful step on our international legal front – the expansion of the Joint Investigation Team will give us new opportunities and resources to achieve our main goal – to bring to justice all those involved in the horrific war crimes in Ukraine. I am grateful to Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia, which, following the opening of national proceedings, have decided to become part of this great team that will help establish justice.
Venediktova has stated her intention to use Civil Confiscation, a Ukrainian legal concept whereby victims of crimes can receive compensation by confiscating the perpetrators property, alongside the criminal proceedings. Venediktova said “[e]very ordinary Ukrainian citizen who is a victim, who lost his families, who lost his house or lost his business he can take this compensation.”