G7 justice ministers agree to coordinate Ukraine war crime probes

German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, his counterparts from the G7 countries, and the EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the Ukrainian Minister of Justice Denis Maljuska, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin and the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim A. A. Khan pose for a family picture at the Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany, November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Mang

(Reuters) - The Group of Seven wealthy democracies (G7) agreed on Tuesday to set up a network to coordinate investigations into war crimes, as part of a push to prosecute suspected atrocities in Ukraine.

"Judicial examination of the atrocities committed in Ukraine will take years, perhaps even decades. But we will be well prepared – and we will persist for as long as it takes," German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said in a statement.

It came after a meeting of G7 justice ministers in Berlin, also attended by special prosecutors of the International Criminal Court, Germany's federal prosecutor and Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska.

In a joint declaration, the ministers said G7 countries would ensure there is a central national contact point in each state for the prosecution of international crimes.

Buschmann told reporters this would ensure that information on evidence and legal requirements can be shared among states and international organisations.

He added that statements from victims of sexual assault should be recorded in such a way that is admissible in court so that victims would only have to give their statement once.

Buschmann, who hailed Tuesday's meeting as the first gathering of its kind in the history of the G7, has in the past touted Germany's leading role in prosecuting war crimes in other countries.

Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, Germany convicted two former Syrian intelligence officers in a landmark trial against state-backed torture in Syria.

(Reporting by Mathis Richtmann, editing by Rachel More and Mark Heinrich)

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