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Russia: International Accountability

Volume 738: debated on Thursday 19 October 2023

2. What recent steps she has taken to establish international accountability for Russia’s actions against Ukraine; and if she will make a statement. (906611)

8. What recent steps she has taken to establish international accountability for Russia’s actions against Ukraine. (906619)

We are supporting my counterpart in Ukraine, Andriy Kostin, and Ukraine’s judiciary with an ongoing package of practical assistance. They have opened over 100,000 files into alleged Russian war crimes. There is a growing body of evidence that serious crimes have been committed. Together, we will ensure that allegations of war crimes are investigated robustly and independently.

While the House is naturally focused on what has happened in the middle east and the Hamas attack against Israel, the war in Ukraine continues. What assessment has my right hon. Friend made of the abduction of young children from Ukraine to Russia?

Forced deportation of children is particularly abhorrent. In July, the Foreign Secretary announced 40 new sanctions against Russian officials who have been involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children and the spreading of hate-filled propaganda. We continue to work closely with the Ukrainians. I am seeing Andriy Kostin in person again next week, and we remain involved at all levels, from the International Criminal Court to local prosecutions.

In the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, what steps is the Attorney General taking at international judicial level to ensure the rule of law is upheld?

At the end of last month, I was honoured to appear personally before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. I made the UK’s submissions in the case against Russia concerning the genocide convention. It was an important moment for the international rule of law. I fear this will be a long process, but we will pay our full part.

I thank the Attorney General for her response and understanding of our requests. Unfortunately, one thing that is not mentioned much about Ukraine is that when east Donbas was invaded and Crimea was taken over, many Baptist pastors went missing. They were abducted, kidnapped and killed, and nobody has been held accountable. Will the Attorney General intervene in that situation and help to give accountability to those families who have lost loved ones?

The hon. Gentleman always speaks so passionately, particularly on behalf of those involved in helping others with their religious beliefs, making sure that they are not persecuted around the world. I have heard what he has said.

The Attorney General has rightly said that international accountability for Russia’s actions in Ukraine is very important. She will also be aware that some deep concerns have been expressed that Russia may be exploiting the very volatile and fragile situation in Israel and Palestine, with its reportedly close links with Hamas and accusations of facilitating international terrorism. Does she share those concerns, and what efforts does she think the international community can take to counter that?

The UK has a strong track record of supporting international law, and we ask that our friends and partners do the same. It is clear to us that all parties should abide by international law. It was very much brought home to me in that room in The Hague that Russia and Ukraine have not been in many rooms together during the past 18 months, but a courtroom brought them to the same place, and that shows the power of international law.