UK appoints a lawyer to investigate war crime allegations in Ukraine

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – A war crimes lawyer has been hired by the UK attorney general to advise Ukraine on the Russian invasion.

Sir Howard Morrison will become an independent consultant to Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, according to Suella Braverman.

For more than 12 years, Sir Howard was a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

This happened as the Russian forces are accused of targeting civilians in violation of international law.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Russia of war crimes earlier this month after Russia launched air strikes in Kharkiv that targeted an opera theatre, a concert venue, and government facilities.

The chief prosecutor of ICC later stated that evidence was being gathered to determine if Russian military personnel had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide.

However, because Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court, any Russian nationals charged by the court would have to be extradited by the Kremlin.

When asked by MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday about other alternatives for prosecuting war criminals besides the International Criminal Court, the Attorney General said “all options are on the table,” while she stressed the ICC was the preferred option of the UK.

She said that in terms of her efforts to support her in terms of her choice of road for redress, she would always defer and support her counterpart in Ukraine, the prosecutor general.

However, although they applaud the focus on responsibility, they believe the ICC was the right place for those guilty for the heinous atrocities committed in Ukraine to be held accountable.

Ms Braverman said the UK was determined to indicate that the crimes that are seen are being committed day after day in Ukraine will not be forgotten as she announced Sir Howard’s appointment.

Sir Howard’s assistance was warmly appreciated by Ms Venediktova, who stated that his expertise and knowledge of international criminal law “speaks louder than words.”

Sir Howard presided over cases involving Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic during his term as a judge.

Ms. Braverman was in constant contact with Ukraine’s prosecutor general, according to the attorney general’s office, and the two intended to meet in person.

On a visit to The Hague last week, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of responding in Ukraine in “ever more barbaric ways,” and offered the International Criminal Court (ICC) technical and financial assistance in prosecuting alleged war crimes in the country.

Boris Johnson made use of similar words, describing Russian military operations as “barbaric and indiscriminate” under Mr Putin’s direction.

Russia denies targeting civilians and claims to be conducting a military operation in Ukraine against “neo-Nazis.”

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.