Europol Joins International Group Investigating Serious Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) has joined the Joint International Investigative Team (JIT) concerning alleged serious international crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. The chief prosecutors of seven participating countries, along with Europol's Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, signed the corresponding agreement during the 17th meeting of the Consultative Forum of Eurojust, as announced in a press release by Europol.
Europol will provide analytical and forensic support to JIT members. Additionally, Europol will assist in collecting and analysing data from legally obtained open sources, including social media, television and radio broadcasts, and open-source intelligence (OSINT).
Furthermore, Europol will offer its expertise in the area of military crimes, crimes against humanity, and other international crimes through the Analytical Project on Core International Crimes (AP CIC).
Since March 2022, the agency has conducted 19 coordination meetings with JIT and other national entities investigating potential serious international crimes in Ukraine.
"The military invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis and forced many refugees to flee from Ukraine to the EU, creating an opportunity for opportunistic criminal networks to exploit the situation for further criminal activities. Europol, together with EU member states, remains firmly committed to identifying and combating these criminal threats and works at all levels to support EU member states affected by the conflict. As part of this ongoing support, the agency maintains close communication with EU member states bordering Ukraine and is currently deploying experts and invited officers to assist local law enforcement agencies in these countries," stated Europol's announcement.
The Joint International Investigative Team (JIT) was established on March 25, 2022, with the support of Eurojust, by Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine. On May 31, 2022, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovakia joined as members, and on October 13, 2022, Romania also became a part of JIT.
On March 3, 2023, seven national JIT agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Justice.
JIT's participants include Eurojust, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and now Europol.
It is worth recalling that Russia, the aggressor country, recently committed another horrifying terrorist act in Ukraine, launching a missile at a café-shop in the Ukrainian village of Groza near Kupiansk, resulting in the tragic loss of 51 lives, including a 6-year-old child.