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Ukraine: Potential Russian War Crimes

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 20 October 2022

2. What steps he is taking to support the investigation of potential Russian war crimes in Ukraine. (901758)

The Government stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia’s invasion. I am personally dedicated to supporting Ukraine’s search for accountability and justice. I recently spoke to the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, and heard his important ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute domestically Russia’s actions on his country’s territory, which are appalling. We discussed, among other things, UK support through the UK-US-EU Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group initiative, which will provide direct practical and advisory support to his office in Kyiv. The UK will continue to play a leading role to ensure accountability for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

I thank the Attorney General for his answer. This abhorrent invasion is no longer focused on by the media as it should be, and there are atrocities going on every day. Does he agree that every crime committed by Russian soldiers must be taken into consideration and people must be held to account, as must their leader, Mr Putin?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and he is right. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group was launched on 25 May by the EU, the US and the UK to ensure efficient co-ordination of respective efforts. It is a very complicated area, but we want to support accountability efforts on the ground. My colleague in the other place, Lord Ahmad, has already announced £2.5 million of UK support for that initiative and for elements of that organisation, including the deployment of mobile justice teams, and training for judges is already under way.

It is obviously important that all the evidence the Ukrainians are gathering to seek out those who have carried out crimes is collated quickly. Is there any help that our Government can give the Ukrainians to do that? It is so important that those people are held accountable before the courts sooner rather than later. What can be done to expedite the process?

Justice delayed is justice denied, and that is as accurate today as it ever was. We have to move at pace, while getting it right, and collating the evidence is important. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that we are doing everything we can to support the Ukrainians in every conceivable way, including in this area.

I welcome the Attorney General back to his place; he is providing much needed continuity amidst the chaos. Bombings of civilians, conducting executions, torturing war prisoners and sexual violence—independent investigators have concluded that Russia has committed all those crimes. I have heard what the Government intend to do, but what specific steps will they take now and in the future to ensure that perpetrators face the consequences of their actions in an international court?

I thank the hon. Lady for raising that. Of course, this is a cross-party issue. We want to see these horrific crimes brought to justice. We will do everything we can to support the Ukrainians in that effort, and we are working across the international community to do that. We have put money into mobile justice teams and training judges for the Ukrainians. We are doing everything we can and will continue to do more.