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ICC sends ‘largest ever’ team of investigators to Ukraine

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The International Criminal Court on Tuesday sent a 42-member team to Ukraine to probe alleged war crimes since the Russian invasion in what it called the largest such deployment in its history.

The squad comprises investigators, forensic experts and support staff and will work with Ukrainian authorities, said Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of The Hague-based ICC.

“This represents the largest-ever single field deployment by my office since its establishment,” Khan said in a statement.

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The team will “advance our investigations into crimes falling into the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and provide support to Ukrainian national authorities,” he added.

Khan thanked the Netherlands, where the court is based, for sending a “significant number of Dutch national experts” to help the mission.

The ICC prosecutor announced an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity just four days after the February 24 Russian invasion.

Khan then said that “Ukraine is a crime scene” as he later visited the town of Bucha near Kyiv, where AFP reporters saw at least 20 bodies lying in the streets after Russian forces withdrew in late March.

The ICC investigators would chase up leads and collect witness testimony “relevant to military attacks,” said Khan in his statement.

They would also work with Ukrainian authorities to “strengthen chain of custody with respect to hard evidence,” he said.

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