This Tuesday, the Spanish Government addressed letters to the Prosecutor’s Offices of Ukraine and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ask them to investigate “as a war crime” the death of the Spanish aid worker Emma Igual in Ukraine last Saturday, in an attack with a missile that hit the car he was traveling in. The announcement was made in the French city of Strasbourg by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who underlined the Government’s intention to “go to the end so that this crime does not go unpunished.”
“I have signed two letters today, one addressed to the International Criminal Court and the other to my Ukrainian counterpart, Minister (Dmitro) Kuleba, in which I ask them to investigate this case as a war crime. I have also conveyed to them our availability to collaborate with material and human means,” said the minister, who traveled to the French city to attend the debate on the state of the Union in the European Parliament this Wednesday. Albares then specified that Spain already collaborates in the investigation of “the hundreds of war crimes that are committed every day in Ukraine”, but that, in this case, it will do so “with much more reason.”
Igual, 32, director and co-founder of the NGO Road to Relief, died last Saturday when a projectile hit the vehicle in which she was traveling with three other volunteers in Chasiv Yar, a municipality neighboring Bakhmut, in the Ukrainian province of Donetsk. , one of the war fronts where the fiercest fighting is taking place. Upon receiving the impact, the car overturned and caught fire. A companion of the humanitarian, the Canadian Anthony Ilhat, also died. Her two other colleagues were seriously injured and taken to a hospital. Both the organization in which the aid workers worked and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense immediately attributed the event to a Russian missile.
On Sunday, when confirming Igual’s death in the Indian city of New Delhi—where he was attending the G-20 summit—Albares did not comment on who was responsible for the crime. However, this Tuesday in Strasbourg he did assure, without naming Russia, that he had “no doubt” that “the person responsible” for Igual’s death was “the one who started the war of invasion of Ukraine.” He then clarified that the Spanish Government wants to “do things well” and that therefore “the ones who have to rule” on responsibility for this attack are “the two prosecutor’s offices that, at this moment, have the capacity to investigate, Ukraine and the TPI.”
The head of Spanish diplomacy added after he had informed Igual’s parents of the Executive’s willingness to clarify what happened to the aid worker.
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She is also the second Spanish victim in this conflict and the first woman of this nationality to die since the beginning of the conflict on February 24, 2022. In June of last year, a Majorcan who had enrolled as a volunteer in the Ukrainian Armed Forces , Ángel Adrover, also died in the war. Ukrainian military sources assured this newspaper that there have been other casualties of Spanish volunteers. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, on February 24, 2022, the Government strictly advises against traveling to Ukraine
The area where the attack took place in which Igual and his Canadian colleague died is the scene of combat with intense crossfire between the two armies and one of the most dangerous of the war. The road his vehicle was traveling on is controlled by the Ukrainian army and all the cars driving on it come from the part of Donetsk province not occupied by Russia. On September 6, 17 people died from the impact of a Russian missile in the Kostiantinivka market, a neighboring city to Chasiv Yar, where Igual died.
Emma Igual was from Barcelona and had been working in the field of cooperation since 2009, as she herself indicated in her profile on the Linkedin social network. The woman founded Road to Relief weeks after the Ukrainian war began. The organization specialized in humanitarian aid and, above all, in evacuating civilians from the front. It also provided medical assistance and humanitarian materials. According to a message posted in July on her Instagram account, she distributed 30 tons of humanitarian materials to more than 100 villages monthly.
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