First war crimes trial in Ukraine: 21-year-old Russian soldier accused of shooting unarmed civilian
Steph Deschamps / May 12, 2022
A 21-year-old Russian soldier will go on trial for war crimes in Ukraine, which will be the first trial with that charge in the country invaded by Russia on Feb. 24, the Kiev prosecutor general announced Wednesday.
Vadim Shishimarin is accused of firing a Kalashnikov through the window of a car he was riding in, shooting an unarmed 62-year-old civilian, prosecutor Iryna Venediktova's office said in a statement, stressing that he acted to prevent the man from testifying in a car theft case.
The accused soldier was traveling with four other Russian soldiers after their convoy was attacked on February 28 and they stole a car near the village of Chupakhivka, the statement continued, explaining that the civilian -- who has not been identified -- was riding a bicycle on the side of the road not far from his home when the theft occurred.
One of the soldiers ordered the accused to kill a civilian so that he would not report them the court said. The man died on the spot, only a few dozen meters from his home.
Vadim Shishimarin is in custody and faces life imprisonment if of war crimes and premeditated murder.
The prosecutor's office released a photo of the accused but did not indicate the circumstances that led to his arrest, nor what happened to the other soldiers present at the time of the alleged events.
Russia has been repeatedly accused by Kiev and Washington of committing war crimes in Ukraine since the start of its offensive, which has resulted in the displacement internally and abroad of nearly six million civilians, many of whom tell of indiscriminate torture, sexual assault and destruction.
The United Kingdom and the Netherlands have sent war crimes investigators to assist local and International Criminal Court teams in the search for possible mass crimes, including in the town of Boutcha near Kiev where at least 20 bodies were discovered on April 2.