December 6, 2023
Cited Article by the Associated Press
HRRC joins with AP to condemn the atrocity act of Russian soldiers torturing an American during the invasion of Ukraine. We aim to shed light on human rights violations and advocate for justice in the face of such atrocities.
The U.S. Justice Department has filed war crimes charges against four Russian men accused of torturing an American during the invasion of Ukraine, marking the first prosecution against members of the Russian armed forces for atrocities during the conflict. This is also the first time the Justice Department has brought charges under a nearly 30-year-old statute criminalizing torture or inhumane treatment during the war. The charges allege that the Russians, identified as members of the armed forces or proxy units, kidnapped and tortured an American man in Ukraine in 2022. Although the accused are currently fugitives, U.S. officials consider the case a historic moment in their investigation into Russian war crimes, with the possibility of more charges in the future. The victim, subjected to harsh interrogation methods and a mock execution, was eventually evacuated with his Ukrainian wife after being held for 10 days at a Russian military compound.
Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the Justice Department's commitment to seeking justice, stating, "This is our first, and you should expect more." The charges stem from evidence gathered by Homeland Security and FBI investigators, revealing the brutality of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The announcement comes amid continued international scrutiny of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, with human rights experts and the International Criminal Court pointing to evidence of torture, rape, and abductions. While the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, the Justice Department has previously pursued criminal cases against Russian nationals for various offenses, including cybercrimes and interference in the 2016 presidential election.