UK to contribute money, experts to ICC’s Ukraine probe

Britain is boosting its support for the International Criminal Court’s probe of war crimes in Ukraine with cash and specialist staff as it hosts a meeting of a coalition of nations that back the investigation.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab is meeting ministers from around the world in The Hague on Thursday in a show of support for the ICC’s ongoing probe.

The meeting comes a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration has made a formal determination that Russian troops have committed war crimes in Ukraine and would work with others to prosecute offenders.

The U.S. is not a member state of the ICC, but could still assist a prosecution there by helping to gather evidence against Russian forces in Ukraine, using some of the vast abilities it has deployed to track and monitor what has been happening in the conflict.

The U.S. could also provide support and backing to a commission of inquiry established by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The meeting in The Hague happened as Biden and other NATO leaders gathered in Brussels on the one-month anniversary of the Russian invasion.

The U.K. is a member of the court and Raab says London will donate 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) in extra funding for the ICC and assign soldiers with expertise in intelligence gathering to the court to help uncover evidence of war crimes. A war crimes team in the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command also is being mobilized to help the investigation.

“Today, the UK is uniting a coalition of international partners to provide the funding and law enforcement support to reinforce the ICC’s investigation into potential war crimes in Ukraine,” Raab said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

“President Putin and his commanders should know that they will be held to account for their actions, and risk ending up spending the rest of their days behind bars,” he added.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, opened an investigation earlier this month after dozens of the ICC’s member states formally asked him to launch a probe. Khan has already visited Ukraine as part of the investigation and sent his staff to the region to begin gathering evidence.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the court, but Ukraine has accepted its jurisdiction.

The court already has conducted a preliminary probe into crimes linked to the violent suppression of pro-European protests in Kyiv in 2013-2014 by a pro-Russia Ukrainian administration and allegations of crimes in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, and eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has backed rebels since 2014. It found “a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed” in Ukraine, Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, said at the time.

Those findings are also part of Khan’s ongoing investigation.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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