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Ukraine: UK Justice Ministry Offers More Support For ICC War Crimes Investigation

The UK Ministry of Justice has announced a second tranche of support for the international criminal court’s (ICC) investigations into war crimes in Ukraine, including the deployment of a specialist legal and police team.

Karim Khan QC, the court’s chief prosecutor, will be in London on Monday to provide an update on the progress of the investigation. During this time, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will present further support to the independent investigation on top of the £1m of funding provided earlier this year.

The package includes a police liaison officer based in The Hague to lead on information sharing between the UK and the ICC, and seven legal experts to support the ICC with expertise in international criminal law and the handling of evidence to be presented to court.

The UK will also provide two police officers with expertise in the collection of intelligence through publicly available data sources, ongoing defence analysis and monitoring of events in Ukraine, as well as war crimes investigation training to Ukrainian police on behalf of the ICC, in collaboration with Norwegian police.

“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,” 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.”

The attorney general, Suella Braverman, added: “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 Putin’s regime to account for their actions.”

The ICC launched its war crimes investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March after an unprecedented number of countries backed the move and Boris Johnson called the military intervention “abhorrent”.

The referral by 39 countries shaved several months off the process because it allowed Khan to bypass the need to seek the approval of the court in The Hague.

The British lawyer previously said the push for an inquiry by so many countries “allows us to jump-start investigations” and came on top of “evidence of international concern over events on the ground in Ukraine”.

“Individuals have rights to have their interests vindicated and for justice to prevail,” he said.

“That can only take place if evidence is independently and impartially collected and assessed and then, in due course, decisions can be made regarding whether or not there’s criminal responsibility, and then the judges ultimately will decide.”

The ICC investigation will look back as far as 21 November 2013, when Ukraine’s then president – Viktor Yanukovych – rejected closer integration with the EU, leading to huge protests that precipitated Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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Earlier this month, Braverman visited Ukraine and led a delegation of war crimes experts to the region to support the work of the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, the Ministry of Justice said.

It added that officers from the Metropolitan police’s counterterrorism unit would “continue to provide forensic and technical capabilities, such as biometrics and examination of digital devices”, as evidence is gathered from potential witnesses in the UK.

The Ministry of Justice is also accelerating conversations with City law firms and barristers to prepare for deployment at a later stage of the investigation.

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