London to host international war crimes meeting to discuss Ukraine

The investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine will be at the top of the agenda when justice ministers from across the world meet in London in the spring.

Deputy prime minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab will host the meeting in March at Lancaster House alongside his Dutch counterpart.

The group will hear from the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan, about the court’s work and the role of the international community in supporting its investigations.

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to target crucial energy infrastructure as he looks to plunge Ukrainian citizens into darkness and wipe out central heating supplies during the freezing winter temperatures.

Mr Khan is currently investigating accusations that Russian soldiers have carried out war crimes during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, with claims from Kyiv that civilians have been executed and civilians raped, during the 11-month conflict.

Mr Raab said: “Russian forces should know they cannot act with impunity and we will back Ukraine until justice is served.

“Almost a year on from the illegal invasion, the international community must give its strongest backing to the ICC so war criminals can be held to account for the atrocities we’re witnessing.”

The meeting will allow countries to determine how to provide further help to the court, the Ministry of Justice said.

Officials said this would include offering practical support, such as helping to gather information and share evidence of atrocities committed on the ground.

Ministers will also discuss how to help victims and witnesses provide testimonies, without causing them further distress.

Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius, co-host of the London meeting and the Netherlands’ minister of justice, said:  “The reports and images of Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked armed attack on Ukraine are horrific.

“For us it is crystal clear, these crimes may not go unpunished.”

Last year the UK offered a package of support to the ICC, which included an additional £1 million funding and dedicated police assistance.

The MoJ said it had also been involved in training Ukrainian judges set to conduct war crime trials and has offered the support of British legal experts.