Canada commits $1M to probe sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine
Published Thursday, May 26, 2022 4:33AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.
Ten RCMP officers, and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts, are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.
Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialist sexual violence investigations and to protect victims who may be witnesses in war-crimes cases.
The funds may also be used to provide psychological support for victims.
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Joly said it was important that Russian troops who have used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.
"Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes," she said in a statement.
"Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held to account."
At a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden's foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon as war criminals.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help gather evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.
Linde said Sweden has also sent "experts on investigating sexual and gender-based crime" to help the ICC with its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — "mainly women and girls and children," she said — as witnesses.
Ukraine's ambassador designate to Canada told members of Parliament earlier this month that Russia is using sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.
Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling "horrific documented evidence" of war crimes.
"The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are done (before) the eyes of their parents," Kovaliv said. "Sexual crimes is part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published 26, May, 2022.
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