- package of UK funding will support the Office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General in its investigations
- it will be provided as part of the UK’s support to the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group in partnership with the EU and US
- new OSCE report expected to be released today highlighting evidence of possible war crimes, abuses of fundamental rights, and more by Russian forces in Ukraine
The UK government will today (14 July 2022) 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.
- the up to £2.5 million package of support for the OPG will facilitate the:
- deployment of Mobile Justice Teams to the scene of potential war crimes to help conduct field investigations and assist Ukrainian investigators on the ground
- deployment of UK experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Team of Experts to support capacity building amongst prosecutors and the police in handling such cases as well as support to victims including children
- training of up to 90 judges in war crimes prosecution and management
- provision of forensic support to the Ukrainian OPG to gather the evidence to facilitate the prosecutions in the future be they in Ukraine, the ICC or elsewhere in the world
- the UK has already funded the International Criminal Court with £1 million additional funding for the Trust Fund for Technical Cooperation. We are now considering how we may offer further support going forward
- the UK will host an international conference on preventing sexual violence in conflict on 28 to 30 November 2022. The conference will seek to galvanise the world into further action to tackle sexual violence in conflict by promoting prevention, justice and support for survivors, and will strengthen the global response on these issues. This will build on the PSVI’s work over the last decade, which has seen the UK commit over £50 million to enable landmark prosecutions, train peacekeepers, develop tools for the judiciary, challenge stigma associated with survivors including children born of sexual violence, increase service provision for all survivors, and work with UN bodies, militaries, faith leaders and the media
- the second Moscow Mechanism report on International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) abuses and violations in Ukraine is expected to be presented to the OSCE Permanent Council on 14 July 2022