Ukraine enlists international legal advisers to help investigate alleged sex crimes by Russia

Ukraine is enlisting the help of international legal advisers to assist in investigating alleged sex crimes by the Russian military. The recaptured city of Kherson has become the site of the investigation as authorities have started gathering evidence of the crimes.

According to, the Global Rights Compliance team is reportedly helping with the full-scale investigation to support overwhelmed Ukrainian authorities as they seek to hold Russians accountable for alleged crimes committed. Such sexual crime accusations surfaced after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Accusations of rape and other sexual crimes were mounted nationwide according to the UN investigative body.

Moscow is calling its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” and has denied committing any war crimes or targeting civilians. Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, says such reports were based on “rumours and gossip.” Moscow has also accused Ukrainian forces of brutal reprisals against civilians who cooperated with Russian forces.

So far, the investigation is reportedly quite daunting as the allegations of international crimes amount to tens of thousands. The ongoing war is also making it harder for investigators to do their jobs. Julian Elderfield, one of the legal advisers who visited Kherson made a statement.

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“We’ve come down here for a three-day mission to support the Office of the Prosecutor General, and specifically the team investigating conflict-related sexual violence. It’s about asking the right questions, pursuing unique or different lines of investigation that might otherwise not have been pursued by local investigators.”

Kherson was occupied by Russian forces before Ukrainian troops recaptured it in early November. But, those residents who remained during the Russian occupation say they were detained and tortured. More than 50,000 alleged incidents of international crimes have been reported by Ukraine’s prosecutor general since Russia invaded. Such incidents allegedly include genocide, which could be sent to the International Criminal Court if they are deemed legitimate.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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