U.K. to host international meet on Ukraine war crimes probe

A destroyed bridge across Siverskyi-Donets river in the recently retaken village of Bogorodychne, Ukraine.

A destroyed bridge across Siverskyi-Donets river in the recently retaken village of Bogorodychne, Ukraine.
| Photo Credit: AP

The U.K. will host a meeting of justice ministers in March to discuss ways to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the government said Saturday.

The ICC based in The Hague is currently carrying out an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan is set to take part in the March meeting with ministers from around the world, London said.

Mr. Khan in December urged the international community to get behind and fund the ICC probe, saying: “We need the tools to do the job. We do not have those tools.”

The U.K. government said the meeting “aims to increase the global financial and practical support being offered to the ICC and coordinate efforts to ensure it has all it needs to carry out investigations and prosecute those responsible”.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who will co-host the meeting, said the participants will discuss how to help gather information and share evidence of atrocities as well as how to support victims.

“Russian forces should know they cannot act with impunity and we will back Ukraine until justice is served,” Mr. Raab said.

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He stressed “the international community must give its strongest backing to the ICC so war criminals can be held to account for the atrocities we’re witnessing”.

The meeting’s co-host, Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius, said the meeting participants would “coordinate with our partners to ensure that support to the ICC and the Ukrainian authorities is offered”.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in December said that the ICC could not try Russia, a non-member state, for the “leadership” crime of aggression without a United Nations Security Council resolution, which Moscow would instantly veto.

She instead proposed a U.N.-backed special court to prosecute the Russian leadership for the “crime of aggression” over its invasion of Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said last month that Russia’s massive missile attacks on Ukraine targeting civilian infrastructure “constitute war crimes and are barbaric. All those responsible shall be held accountable.”

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