UK to send legal and police teams to investigate Ukraine war crimes

Justice Secretary will announce second package of support for independent investigations

The remains of a shopping centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, after Russian shelling on March 21. AP
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The UK will provide a specialist legal and police team to assist the chief prosecutor investigating accusations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has announced.

Support will be provided for the independent investigation, on top of the £1 million ($1.25m) funding already provided by the UK government, Mr Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, will announce on Monday.

Support will include a Metropolitan Police officer stationed in The Hague, providing the International Criminal Court and its prosecutor, Karim Khan, with swift access to more British police and military expertise.

The UK is also offering the services of seven lawyers experienced in international criminal law to help uncover evidence and prosecute those responsible for war crimes.

The ICC has begun an investigation that could focus on senior officials believed to be responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Atrocities have been discovered in areas including Bucha, outside the capital of Ukraine, where the bodies of bound and gagged civilians were found in the streets after they were executed, it is claimed, by retreating Russian soldiers.

Mass graves have been discovered and Ukrainian women have reported being raped by Russian troops during a conflict that has lasted more than 100 days.

“The UK has responded swiftly to a request from the International Criminal Court for more police and lawyers to aid their investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine," Mr Raab said.

“Russian forces should know that they will be held to account for their actions and the global community will work together to ensure justice is served.”

Attorney General Suella Braverman said: “Following my appointment of war crimes expert Sir Howard Morrison as an independent adviser to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, I am determined that British expertise continues to be available to our friends in Ukraine in their search for justice.

“We will stand side by side as they uncover the truth and hold those responsible in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s regime to account for their actions.”

The support will also include two police officers with expertise in collection of intelligence through publicly available data.

The Ministry of Justice said the UK would continue to provide defence analysis and monitoring of events in Ukraine, including preservation of any evidence relating to war crimes.

Ministers have pledged to deliver war crimes investigation training to Ukrainian police on behalf of the ICC, in collaboration with the Norwegian police.

Updated: June 05, 2022, 11:01 PM