This week, the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division’s (ENRD) Environmental Crimes Section hosted eight guests from the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office for a series of training and study sessions relating to the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes, including environmental crimes committed in the wake of Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine.
“This training on investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes is just one part of our efforts to hold accountable under law those who bear responsibility for the Russian regime’s brutal crimes,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will work with our Ukrainian partners to hold the Russian regime accountable for the atrocities it is committing in the course of its unjust war in Ukraine.”
The study visit began on Monday and concluded on Wednesday. Attorney General Garland welcomed the group on Wednesday, as the study visit is a part of a broader collaboration between the Justice Department and the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office. The two departments entered into a Memorandum of Understanding when the Attorney General and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin met in Washington in September 2022. The Department and Prosecutor General’s Office committed to cooperate on investigations and prosecutions related to potential war crimes and related criminal offenses committed following or during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pursuant to that agreement, ENRD has been providing requested assistance to Ukraine as it explores several avenues to hold Russia accountable for the environmental toll of its invasion. During the training, U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors and experts provided overviews of Ukrainian and U.S. environmental crime statutes and enforcement programs, shared investigative techniques, considered a number of relevant case studies and identified additional areas for collaboration.
Joining ENRD for the training were personnel from the Department’s War Crimes Accountability Team, which is based in the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP), as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard. Support was also provided by the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), which is funded by the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and the Government of the United Kingdom.