The British lawyers started the prosecution of the Russian PVK “Wagner” to prove its terrorist actions and to receive compensation to the Ukrainian victims from the court.
The Russian “Private Military Company of Wagner,” owned by businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, was one of the vanguard units of Russian troops in the war.
This PMC was also active in other military conflicts with the participation of Russia — for example, in Syria.
Wagner has been committing terrorism for a long time
The civil war in Syria has been going on since 2011, and Russia is supporting Bashar Assad’s regime in this war. The intervention of Russian troops in Syria began in 2015. At the same time, the mercenaries of “PVK Wagner” arrived there. They participated in several important campaigns, for example, in the battles for Palmyra.
In Syria, mercenaries are suspected of committing war crimes against the civilian population. Wagner PMC mercenaries also covered regular Russian troops during the battles for Luhansk airport in 2014 and Debaltseve in 2015.
Since February 24 of this year, “Wagner’s PPC” has been fighting on all areas of the front, particularly in the Donetsk region. And Prigozhin personally recruits prisoners to the PMK and promises amnesty for participation in the war. “PVK Wagner” Fighters are suspected of numerous war crimes, torture, and crimes against humanity.
British lawyer Jason McCue took up the case
A British lawyer, a partner of the British company McCue Jury & Partners, Jason McCue, who has 30 years of legal experience, is trying to prove that Russia is a terrorist country. In Britain, he is known for his ability to get compensation in courts for victims of terrorism.
On November 1, 2022, at a meeting of the British Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, McCue announced that he would file a lawsuit against “PMV Wagner” and personally against Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The main goal is to receive compensation for Ukrainians who suffered in the war. McCue had already faced Prigozhin earlier this year when he defended Bellingcat investigators against his lawsuit.
Meetings of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament
For thirty years, McCue provided legal support to those in need. Uses the legal system, primarily international law, against an enemy.
Its target has always been a terrorist groups: from the Irish Republican Army to ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. And this work has always been public. Great Britain was unable to convict Irish terrorists through the peace process. Then McCue proposed to the British government to file a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for the actions of terrorists – he succeeded.
The Parliamentary Committee of Great Britain knew that McCue’s team was very interested in the “Wagners”, monitored their activities, and wanted to stop them. So when the committee began its investigation, he was invited to testify.
Jason McCue worked with Ukrainian affairs earlier
Jason McCue, until today handled cases of terrorist attacks on airplanes. When MH17 was shot down, some Ukrainian people’s deputies contacted him and his group and asked how to file a lawsuit. When the full-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine started, many of his colleagues from around the world got together and decided to do something with it. These are lawyers, investigators, and those engaged in strategic communications.
The McCue Group proves the law
McCue’s group quickly realized what they had to do. First, court cases can force governments to impose sanctions against those involved. “Wagner PMC” is a terrorist organization, it can be proven. This is Putin’s tactic – to use “Wagnerians” to terrorize Ukrainians.
The second task is legal claims for reparations. The group has considerable experience and knows there can be no peace without justice and reparations.
They never rely on reparations commissions. The guilty always give money to restore infrastructure, build hospitals, and develop civil society, but this is not money for ordinary people.
The guilty do not return money to people who lost their shops or cars. Therefore, McCue’s group has been filing claims for reparations in advance for decades and is not waiting for the end of the conflict. Such lawsuits can be settled at the expense of sanctioned money, so they offered this option to Ukrainian lawyers.
Cooperation with Ukraine
They work with many Ukrainian lawyers and law firms. They have a working group of judges from the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, and they have worked with some government departments. They directed them and helped to collect evidence.
They have had a team of international lawyers, investigators, scouts, and communicators for 30 years. They are gathering evidence against the Russian military machine, which operates in Ukraine and worldwide. It is essential to us that we have an extensive network around the world.
How McCue Group looking for victims
We use the testimonies of Ukrainians in Britain. With about 100-150 thousand victims, the total damages to be claimed in the lawsuit are five billion pounds.
They also took on the “Wagnerians” and Prigozhin because they knew them from a previous case – where they defended Bellingcat in London in the case against Prigozhin four months ago and won.
A lawsuit similar to the one they are filing against the “Wagners” in Great Britain is also being prepared in the USA. The British American counterparts say that everything will be ready by Christmas. The lawsuit will be filed according to American rules. In this way, they will be able to capture suspects worldwide.
The procedure for bringing such claims in Great Britain
First, you need to write a letter showing your position and arguments. McCue’s group wrote and sent such a 15-page document to Prigogine and the “Wagnerians.”
They then have three months to send a response to each argument. Then everything depends on them. If they want to fight, they can come to court on this case and get defense attorneys.
If they decide not to fight, we can file a lawsuit and ask it to determine. In this case, the claim can be considered within a year.
If they defend themselves, the case may last 2-3 years. But we know that trials in the UK are much faster than any international tribunals.
In any case, in the process, they will freeze the fortunes of the people in business who finance the Wagnerites, not only in our country but all over the world. And it will be painful for them.
Why does McCue talk about terrorism, and what is the evidence?
He proves that the Wagner PMC group is a proxy, a private military campaign that Putin uses to do the dirty work in his international politics. For example, “Wagnerians” supported dictators and staged coups to gain control over uranium or gold mines in Africa.
In Ukraine, the “Wagnerians” are terrorists. This terrorism harms Ukrainian plaintiffs directly or indirectly. Now – if the explosions injured them, they were tortured or shot at. Indirectly, this is intimidation by the “Wagners,” which forced people to flee, mainly to London. This is what terrorism means. So people were harmed ― morally or physically ― and injured, and their property was damaged.
What is the expected result?
There is all the evidence of the terrorist activities of the Wagner PMC mercenaries. They are received from Ukrainians, investigators, and scouts in different ways.
If they prove that it was terrorism, what will it do?
This would mean the group won, and the victims would receive compensation. It will be more difficult for the governments of other countries, such as the USA, not to recognize the “Wagnerians” as terrorists.
How much can such a lawsuit cost?
It depends on how far we can expand the case. A small matter can cost 500 thousand pounds. If the number of victims increases, if the “Wagners” fight, and if there are more suspects, the entire work can cost up to a million.
The company McCue Jury & Partners hopes that the same cases against PVK “Wagner” and Yevgeny Prigozhin will also be started in other countries.