The British law firm McCue Jury & Partners, on behalf of the affected Ukrainians, filed a lawsuit against PMC Wagner and its founder, "Putin's chef" Yevgeny Prigozhin, who today personally recruits prisoners in Russian prisons for the war.
“This is the first time in history that a private military company has been sued for terrorism, as well as colluding with a rogue state treasurer state to wage an illegal war,” the firm said in a statement.
The case will be funded through crowdfunding. Lawyers have already sent a warning to Prigozhin and PMC Wagner and testified in the framework of the investigation of the parliamentary committee on international affairs "Wagner Group and not only: intermediary private military companies."
The company notes that the case is a landmark: “The first victims sued an organization such as Wagner PMC for willfully causing harm and suffering through the use of terrorism as a weapon of war to further the criminal ambitions of a rogue president.”
According to lawyers, the lawsuit could change attitudes towards such organizations that act as mediators of regimes "that are trying to hide from their crimes."
“It will not only strike at Putin's war machine, but also provide an opportunity to receive much-needed reparations for those who have suffered. Billions of dollars of assets associated with Wagner PMCs, Putin and his kleptocrats have been frozen thanks to the sanctions.<...> The campaign can help ensure that they are not returned to war criminals, but are transferred directly to their victims,” they emphasize at McCue Jury & Partners.
Prigozhin is a recidivist criminal convicted of theft, fraud and involvement of minors in criminal activities. His mercenaries are involved in many operations abroad, in some cases (as, for example, during the invasion of Ukraine) under the direct command of the GRU.
In September, Prigozhin, who launched a massive campaign to recruit Russian prisoners for the war in Ukraine, admitted to being the creator of the Wagner PMC. He had previously publicly denied his relationship with her.
The Insider said the day before that prisoners who are sent to Ukraine from PMCs to avoid torture in prison face torture at the front: the command cuts off prisoners' fingers and hides signs of torture by burning bodies in crematoria, and also threatens to show them a video in which a living person was skinned for shooting a commander.