Lord Ahmad announces package for war crimes probe


It follows £1 million in support already provided by the UK for justice and accountability efforts, as well as technical expertise…reports Asian Lite News

The UK government will announce a new £2.5 million support package to assist the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) with investigating war crimes committed in Ukraine, including conflict-related sexual violence.

With evidence of possible war crimes committed by Russian forces growing daily, UK support will play a vital role in assisting the Ukrainian authorities in their efforts to pursue justice.

In a speech at today’s Ukraine Accountability Conference in The Hague, co-hosted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the European Commission, Minister of State at the Foreign Office Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon will outline the UK’s continued commitment to helping Ukraine hold the perpetrators of these crimes to account.

The UK’s £2.5 million package of support for 2022 to 2023 will be delivered through the Atrocity Crimes Advisory group (ACA), which was established in May in conjunction with the EU and US to support the OPG with the gathering of evidence and prosecution of war crimes. The package includes the deployment of Mobile Justice Teams to the scene of potential war crimes, training of up to 90 judges, forensic evidence gathering and support from UK experts in sexual violence in conflict.

It follows £1 million in support already provided by the UK for justice and accountability efforts, as well as technical expertise. The UK deployed a team of war crimes experts to Poland in May to scope out where UK support for the Prosecutor General would be most effective, and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General visited the UK later that month.

Minister Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, will highlight the growing evidence of sexual violence and other crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

He will use his speech to call upon every government and international organisation to champion the standards set out in the Murad Code, a global code of conduct ensuring those gathering information from survivors of conflict-related sexual violence do so safely, ethically and effectively. He will also look ahead to the UK-hosted Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Conference in November, where the UK will join with partners to deliver real change for survivors.

In his speech, Lord Ahmad will say, “In Ukraine there is mounting evidence of atrocities, including of sexual violence, committed by Russian forces. We are working directly with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General to ensure all potential war crimes are fully investigated, and those responsible are held to account. Collaborating with partners around the world, the UK is ready to spearhead efforts to strengthen global commitment to accountability for these heinous crimes. The Murad Code, launched at the UN Security Council in April, is an essential tool in ensuring the safe, secure and effective way of documenting crimes of sexual violence in conflict and ensuring perpetrators are brought to account.”

Our international PSVI conference on 28 to 30 November will be a moment to come together, to prove that we mean it when we say ‘enough is enough’, and to deliver real change for survivors.

Melinda Simmons, UK Ambassador to Ukraine said, “The evidence of the horrific crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, and the first-hand accounts I have heard from the survivors, will stay with me forever. But even more powerful is the resolve I have witnessed in the Ukrainian people to respond to these atrocities. I am pleased that UK expertise and funding will help the Office of the Prosecutor-General to expose these crimes and bring perpetrators to account. Today’s support announcement comes alongside the expected publication of the OSCE’s second Moscow Mechanism report, highlighting possible war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine, including evidence of conflict-related sexual violence.”

Russian forces have brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women and children, and the UK continues to act decisively with its allies to punish Russia for its unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

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