Switzerland: Federal Prosecutor’s Office opens Investigation into attack of Swiss Journalist in Ukraine
On March 26, 2023, the spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), confirmed in a press article that criminal proceedings were being initiated for the attack against Swiss press reporter Guillaume Briquet by an alleged Russian commando, and that further investigation will be carried out. Mr. Briquet was injured as a result of the attack, as he was driving from Kropyvnytsky to Mykolaïv (Ukraine).
Mr. Briquet stated that the vehicle in which he was travelling — which had Geneva license plates and had “PRESS” written on both sides — was shot twice on the driver’s side, and twice on the passenger’s side. According to the journalist, when he dismounted the vehicle, the soldiers, which identified themselves as Russian, stole, amongst other things, 3’000 euro in cash and his passport.
In 2022, Truth Hounds, with the assistance of Civitas Maxima, filed a denunciation to the Swiss authorities regarding the attack against Mr. Briquet. Civitas Maxima had provided in 2021 a training to Truth Hounds in Ukraine on international crimes documentation through its Knowledge and Training Center.
In early 2022, OAG created a working group dedicated to the preservation of evidence related to potential crimes committed in Ukraine, since Swiss authorities are competent to deal with these crimes through the principle of universal jurisdiction. Nevertheless, in this particular case, Mr. Briquet’s Swiss nationality extends Switzerland’s jurisdiction to prosecute, based on the passive personality principle, which recognizes the jurisdiction of states over offences committed abroad against its own citizens, independently from the nationality of the alleged perpetrator.
According to Reporters without Borders (RSF), Russian forces have been deliberately attacking journalists in Ukraine. In 2022 alone, 13 journalists were killed as they were reporting on the war. The systematic attack against journalists has mobilized RSF to refer these attacks to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Since 2014, Truth Hounds has documented international crimes committed in the country and received in 2023 the Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. For Dmytro Koval, its legal Director, the decision of the Swiss OAG is important: “We welcome the OAG’s decision and Truth Hounds is ready to assist the Swiss authorities on their ongoing investigations”.
For further information:
Truth Hounds: [email protected]
Civitas Maxima: [email protected]