As the first anniversary of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine approaches, the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Team is refreshing it’s call for anyone in the UK with direct evidence of potential war crimes to come forward.
The Met’s War Crimes Team, which is part of the Counter Terrorism Command, has been gathering evidence in relation to alleged war crimes in Ukraine in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation, which was launched on 2 March 2022. This work has been supported by officers from right across the UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing Network.
Anyone with direct evidence of possible war crimes in Ukraine can report them via an online reporting portal, Ukrainian and Russian language versions of this page are also available.
Commander Richard Smith, Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:
“Next week will mark the ugly anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Our thoughts are firmly with all those who have been, and continue to be, affected by these terrible events.
“Our message to anyone who is in the UK and may have direct evidence of war crimes – whether they’ve witnessed or been a victim themselves, or if they’ve had first-hand accounts or evidence sent directly to them – we are here for you and we would urge you to get in touch.”
Since the launch of the ICC investigation last year, the Met’s War Crimes Team has received over 100 referrals, which have been, or are in the process of being assessed by specialist officers and detectives.
In addition to gathering any evidence from the UK in support of the ICC investigation, a specialist officer has also been deployed to directly assist the ICC in their ongoing investigation and officers have also provided specialist training to Ukrainian counterparts in best practice in investigative practice such as interviewing and witness triage and forensics and scene management.
Commander Smith added:
“This particular war crimes investigation is somewhat unprecedented. Typical war crimes investigations we are involved with tend to take place after the conflict in question has ended – in some cases many years after.
“However, the ICC investigation is taking place whilst the conflict is very much ongoing, and that gives all those involved – including our War Crimes Team – the chance to gather evidence now, which could potentially support any future prosecutions. That is why it is vital that anyone with direct evidence gets in touch with us, so that we can capture it while it may still be in their possession, or fresh in their mind.”
The War Crimes Team has national responsibility on behalf of Counter Terrorism Policing for carrying out any UK enquiries into war crimes and core international crimes. The ongoing appeal is for anyone in the UK who may have direct evidence of war crimes in Ukraine from 21 November 2013 to present.
Officers are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may themselves have witnessed or been the victim of any war crimes in Ukraine at any time from 21 November 2013 onwards.
Evidence provided to and gathered by the Met’s War Crimes Team may then be shared with the ICC to assist with their ongoing investigation.
To report a suspected war crime to the War Crimes team, visit our online reporting tool at: https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/war-crimes/af/report-a-war-crime/
Officers from the War Crimes Team are also working closely with relevant UK Government and NGO (non-governmental organisation) agencies, as well as consulting with international partners to help coordinate the gathering and provision of evidence to the ICC.