BRUSSELS: On Wednesday, the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), a mechanism aimed at ensuring efficient coordination of their respective support to accountability efforts on the ground. The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.
The overarching mission of the ACA is to support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory.
EU High Representat-ive/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice. There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atro-city Crimes Advisory Gro-up will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosec-utor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions. The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”
UK Foreign Secretary Truss said: “We are determined to ensure those responsible for the vile at-rocities committed in Ukra-ine are held to account. The UK has already made a clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations, including through deploying war crimes experts to the region and releasing additional funding to aid the ICC in their investigations. We are now stepping up our efforts through this landmark initiative with our partners in the US and EU. Justice will be done.”
General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova said: “There is ample evidence of the atrocities committed by Russia’s forces on the territory of Ukraine against civilians, including children. The creation of this support group and the advice of international experts with experience in other international criminal tribunals and national criminal law practice will help the ongoing work of our teams in investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”
The ACA is supported by the U.S. State Departm-ent’s Office of Global Cri-minal Justice and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. On the EU side, coordination will be ensured by the European External Action Service, through the EU Delegation to Ukraine, in coordination with the Eur-opean Commission, the EU Project Pravo-Justice II and the EU Advisory Mission Ukraine. The UK contribution will be coordinated by the Foreign, Commonwe-alth and Development Of-fice and other relevant UK Government Departments.