State Department to collect, analyze evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze after a bombing on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine
Associated Press/Vadim Ghirda
 Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a blaze at a warehouse after a bombing on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 17, 2022.  

The State Department announced on Tuesday that it is launching a program to collect and analyze evidence of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine.

A new Conflict Observatory will include “the documentation, verification, and dissemination of open-source evidence regarding the actions of Russia’s forces during President Putin’s brutal war of choice,” the State Department said.

“The Conflict Observatory will analyze and preserve publicly and commercially available information, including satellite imagery and information shared via social media, consistent with international legal standards, for use in ongoing and future accountability mechanisms.”

The State Department said that the documentation collected by the program would be shared publicly and noted it was a collaboration between PlanetScape Ai, Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab, geographic information systems company Esri and the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative.

The development comes as Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed last month that the U.S. was working with Ukraine to collect and preserve evidence of possible war crimes committed during Russia invasion of Ukraine. 

Beth Van Schaack, the U.S. ambassador at large for global criminal justice, said earlier this month that a group of investigators and prosecutors assisting Ukraine in probing possible war crimes had been funded and deployed by the State Department.

Though the U.S. recognized that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, the country has not yet recognized Russia’s actions as a genocide. 

Tags Beth Van Schaack Merrick Garland Vladimir Putin

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