90% of seized Russian assets frozen by just 7 EU member states

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, Pool)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

So far, €17.4 billion worth of Russian assets under sanctions have been frozen in the European Union as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine, a significant amount. Just seven member states have carried out 90 percent of the seizures, said European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders while speaking at a press conference in Luxembourg on Thursday.

Speaking after a meeting of EU justice ministers, the Belgian commissioner said all member states must implement the sanctions measures and report back to the European Commission. He said that the European Commission and the European public prosecutor had also raised the possibility of extending the mandate of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute breaches of EU sanctions, but that the issue still needed careful consideration.

Team set up to investigate crimes in Ukraine

Reynders also said that 14 EU member states, together with the Ukrainian authorities and the support of the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), had set up a joint investigation team to facilitate criminal investigations into crimes committed in Ukraine.

“Member states will provide an additional €7 million to support the International Criminal Court and for forensic support to Ukraine to gather evidence,” he added.

Asked by journalists whether the EU would support the creation of a special war crimes court, as called for by Kyiv, the commissioner said that the existing legal infrastructure should be used first. He added that the European Council, which brings together the governments of the member states, does not yet have a common position on the issue of a special court.

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