Kyiv, Ukraine –
A Kyiv appeals court on Friday reduced the life sentence of a Russian soldier convicted in the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine in February to 15 years.
The trial was watched closely as the first test of the ability to conduct fair trials during the ongoing conflict and the ability of Ukraine’s beleaguered justice system to cope with the daunting task of prosecuting thousands of complex war crimes cases.
Critics said the sentencing of Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old contract soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a civilian and was sentenced in May, was excessively harsh, given that he confessed to the crime, a said he was following orders and expressed remorse.
His lawyer, Viktor Ovsyannikov, had appealed to the court to reduce the sentence to 10 years. He said it was highly likely that Shishimarin would be sent back to Russia in a prisoner exchange.
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