Tue, 05 Jul 2022

US sets up unit to investigate war crimes in Ukraine war

Robert Besser
20 May 2022, 02:43 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. State Department has announced the launch of a new program to capture and analyze evidence of alleged war crimes and other atrocities perpetrated by Russian troops in Ukraine.

In a statement, the State Department said the so-called "Conflict Observatory" will be responsible for the documentation, verification and dissemination of evidence, and reports and analyses will be made available to the public on its website.

US President Joe Biden highlighted his resolve to hold Moscow accountable for launching the largest land war in Europe since World War Two, accusing Russia of "major war crimes" committed in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government also accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion, claiming it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

Moscow denies targeting civilians and said evidence of atrocities were staged.

The new program, established with an initial $6 million investment, will analyze and preserve information, including satellite imagery and information shared on social media, the U.S. State Department said, stating, "This new Conflict Observatory program is part of a range of U.S. government efforts at both national and international levels, designed to ensure future accountability for Russia's horrific actions."

The program is a collaboration with geographic information systems company Esri, Yale University's Humanitarian Research Lab, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and PlanetScape Ai, it added, noting that future funding will be provided by the European Democratic Resilience Initiative.

The U.S. has been engaged in collecting and documenting evidence of potential war crimes and atrocities with prosecutors, state entities and organizations, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

On 25th April, the International Criminal Court said it would take part in a joint team with Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian prosecutors to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces.

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