EU 7.25M euro for ICC investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine

The European Union is giving 7.25 million euro to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in particular to help it to scale up its investigation capacity to respond to the ongoing investigations into war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, the European Commission said on June 8.

“The European Union is committed to make Russian decision-makers accountable for the gross violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine and will continue to support the investigations launched by the ICC in Ukraine,” the Commission said.

A separate statement on June 8 said that the Commission and EU countries’ tax authorities had set up a subgroup on tax enforcement in the “Freeze and Seize” Task Force steered by European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to step up their efforts against sanctioned Russians and Belarusian individuals and companies, as well as their associates.

This subgroup will help unearth possible tax crimes and recover unpaid taxes, while facilitating the implementation of EU sanctions, the statement said.

The “Freeze and Seize” Task Force was set up by the Commission in March to ensure the efficient implementation of the EU sanctions against listed Russian and Belarusian individuals and companies across the EU.

The Task Force coordinates actions by EU member states, Eurojust, Europol and other agencies as regards the seizing and, where national law allows for it, the confiscation of assets of Russian and Belarusian oligarchs.

It is also looking into how to use any confiscated assets to help rebuild a stronger Ukraine for the next generation, an initiative discussed and supported by the EU leaders in the European Council conclusions of May 30-31 2022.

The Commission said that so far, the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs amounted to 10 billion euro, in addition to 196 billion euro worth of blocked transactions.

In May, the Commission proposed to strengthen the implementation of the EU sanctions by adding the violation of EU sanctions to the list of EU crimes and by reinforcing the current rules on asset freezing and confiscation.

A statement by the European Commission on June 7 said that as humanitarian needs continue to rise in Ukraine due to the illegal Russian invasion, the EU is providing direct operational support to aid organisations working inside the country.

The statement said that the EU had set up and fully funded two warehouses in Ukraine, respectively in Vinnytsia and Dnipro, as well as contracting trucking services to get humanitarian aid to those in need.

The use of these EU funded humanitarian services is offered free of charge to aid organisations operating in Ukraine, as part of the new European Humanitarian Response Capacity system, currently implemented by Handicap International.

France will also co-fund these operations in Ukraine, being the first EU member state joining the initiative.

EU supported trucking operations in Ukraine started earlier in April this year.

Until now, they supported more than 18 EU and local humanitarian partners in delivering over 750 tonnes of humanitarian cargo through 56 consignments.

Deliveries managed to get aid to hard-to-reach districts such as the city centre of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk.

Humanitarian aid already delivered includes food and essential items, hygiene and medical supplies.

The warehouse in Vinnytsia is also equipped with a temperature-controlled facility to ensure the compliance with storage requirements for items such as medicines, the Commission said.

(Photo, of the ICC building in The Hague: Vincent van Zeijst)

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