Criminal investigations advisers from the EU Advisory Mission Ukraine (EUAM) have visited Hostomel, Irpin, and Bucha with the Ukrainian Police, the first official joint visits by the EUAM International Crimes Task Force and the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) to war crime scenes.
The occupation of the towns of Hostomel, Irpin and Bucha by Russian forces lasted more than a month, until the area was liberated on 31 March.
After a previous visit to Hostomel with the NPU Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit, EUAM Ukraine has now sent its International Crimes experts to Irpin and Bucha to join the NPU Forensic Unit. The aim of these visits is to review and assist the crime scene management techniques used to collect and preserve evidence to enable the investigation of international crimes.
On the ground, NPU officers explained the atrocities committed in the three cities, including the indiscriminate shelling of civilian buildings, war-related sex violence, the killing of civilians, mass murders, torture, interrogations and the misappropriation and looting of private properties.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies began working in the area immediately following the retreat of the Russian forces. During the visits, the NPU officers explained that the EOD experts are always the first to arrive at the crime scene. Once they have cleared the area, forensic officers and investigators can gather evidence and perform their work, forming the basis for case files.
It is essential to preserve shreds of evidence on the spot, and time is crucial. To collect them in Hostomel, Irpin and Bucha, NPU worked tirelessly for about two months. “We understand the amount of work and the associated risks the NPU officers face every day,” noted Manfred Koenig, Senior Adviser on the Investigation of International Crimes. “We see they are doing a highly professional job under difficult circumstances, and we are glad to continue supporting NPU with strategic advice, highly needed equipment and specialised training.”
In parallel to these visits, the EUAM International Crimes Task Force also handed over four cameras with different lens types and flashes for forensic investigations to the NPU Forensic Department. EUAM also met with NPU Inquiry Units, whose teams are often dispatched to the scenes of atrocities due to the overload of police investigators’ work. The inquirers received 11 forensic kits and 12,500 forensic envelopes to support their work.
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