RCMP to collect evidence of atrocities from Ukrainian refugees arriving in Canada

Dedicated website to be announced imminently to enable secure transfer of evidence

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The RCMP is collecting evidence of suspected war crimes in Ukraine from people fleeing to Canada following Russia’s invasion of their country.

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The RCMP investigation was initiated through the federal war crimes program to ensure that important information and evidence is collected from Ukrainians who wish to provide it upon arrival.

The RCMP and federal partners are creating a website to let Ukrainians know how they can share information about possible war crimes they witnessed during Russia’s attack.

In a statement Thursday, the government said details about the effort will also be available starting this week at Canada’s major international airports and through non-governmental organizations and community groups providing assistance to Ukrainians.

Authorities say information about potential crimes needs to be collected and protected as soon as possible, to ensure it isn’t lost over time and to preserve crucial evidence for future prosecutions.

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Canada has already sent RCMP officers to The Hague to assist in the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russia.

Associated Press journalists reported seeing dozens of bodies in Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital kyiv, some burned, others apparently shot at close range or with their hands tied.

Russia has falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.

Federal officials said Ukrainians and anyone with a Canadian connection who has information about possible war crimes can provide it to the RCMP through the new dedicated website.

The RCMP is seeking information on acts of violence in Ukraine since February 24 this year and in Crimea or the Donbas region since 2014.

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An RCMP investigator could follow up to provide a secure means of sharing potential evidence, including photos and video.

“Sharing this information is the choice of the individual and will have no impact on their immigration status in Canada. It will be safeguarded by the RCMP and will only be used for the purposes of investigation and criminal prosecutions,” the government said.

Protesters, most of them Ukrainians and many of them refugees, lie down during a demonstration in Berlin to symbolize the civilians killed in the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, on April 6, 2022.
Protesters, most of them Ukrainians and many of them refugees, lie down during a demonstration in Berlin to symbolize the civilians killed in the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, on April 6, 2022. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Canada will ensure that those who perpetrate war crimes in Ukraine are held accountable, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino added.

“Canadians have watched in horror as the Putin regime has killed innocent people, attacked civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, and disregarded all international rules and norms,” ​​he said. “There must be consequences for these illegal and immoral acts.”

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The G7 issued a joint statement on Thursday affirming the importance of the ICC in collecting evidence in a war crimes investigation, and also affirmed similar investigations by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation. in Europe.

“We underscore that those responsible for war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, including the indiscriminate use of force or intentionally targeting civilians, must be held accountable and brought to justice,” the group said.

The G7 also pledged to continue putting economic pressure on Russia to further isolate it from the global economy, including further sanctions on President Vladimir Putin’s wealthy enablers and Russian state entities.

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“President Putin’s war of aggression is causing global economic disruption. His impact on Ukraine’s internationally important agricultural sector puts global food security under heavy pressure, for which President Putin and his accomplices bear full responsibility,” the statement said.

Thursday’s federal budget also addressed global economic uncertainty sparked by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“Putin and his henchmen are war criminals. The world’s democracies, including our own, can be safe only once the Russian tyrant and his armies are completely defeated,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister, said during her budget address to the House of Representatives. the Commons.

— With additional reporting from The Associated Press



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