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Met confirms 50 reports of war crimes in Ukraine conflict

Specialist officers have begun assessing allegations of war crimes that may have been committed in the Ukraine conflict.

The Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Team has received more than 50 statements and has appealed to refugees who have recently arrived in the UK to come forward with evidence.

In an update, the Met said it is expecting to receive more information as the number of refugees arriving in the UK increases.

The unit has a long history of providing evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague which tries cases of genocide and other human rights violations.

The court announced at the beginning of last month it would open an investigation into potential breaches of international law under article 15(3) of the Rome Statute and has already assigned judges.

The judges will have to consider whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, upon examination of the Prosecutor's request and the supporting material.

Scotland Yard will be among the organisations providing evidence.

It revealed that of the referrals officers have so far, which have been received from people across the whole of the UK, the majority relate to incidents across Ukraine since the latest phase of the conflict began in February, and, specifically what appear to be attacks against the civilian population.

The Met team is one of the most experienced in the world having carried out investigations into atrocities carried out in multiple conflicts including in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Their evidence helped convict 90 people for the deaths of up to 130,000 people.

The team have also investigated atrocities committed in Rwanda plus war crimes dating back to the Second World War.

They are now appealing directly to Ukrainians who have recently arrived in the UK to give statements.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Murphy, Head of Operations for the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Since the start of the recent military activity in February, our officers have been proactively engaging with Ukrainian communities in the UK.

"This is to make sure anyone here in the UK who has received direct evidence of potential war crimes knows that this can be reported to us, but also to make sure that anyone affected by these terrible events can also be given the support and help that they might need.”

DCS Murphy made a public appeal for people to come forward: “I’d also ask any households across the country who have volunteered to host Ukrainian people that should you come into contact with anyone who might have been witness to, or victim of possible war crimes, then you encourage them to contact us. Please let them know we are here and that we can help them.”

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