War Crimes Investigations: EUAM Criminal Investigations Advisors Visit Hostomel, Irpin and Bucha with Ukrainian Police
Criminal Investigative Advisors from the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine (EUAM) traveled to Hostomel, Irpin and Bucha together with Ukrainian police, the first joint official visits of EUAM’s International Crimes Working Group and the Ukrainian National Police (NPU) at war crimes 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 March 31.
After a previous visit to Hostomel with the NPU’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit, EUAM Ukraine has now sent its international crimes experts to Irpin and Bucha to join the NPU’s forensic unit . The purpose of these visits is to review and assist with crime scene management techniques used to collect and preserve evidence for the investigation of international crimes.
On the ground, NPU officers explained the atrocities committed in the three cities, including indiscriminate bombing of civilian buildings, war-related sexual violence, killing of civilians, mass murder, torture, interrogations and embezzlement and looting of private property.
Ukrainian law enforcement began working in the area immediately after the withdrawal of Russian forces. During visits, NPU officers explained that EOD experts are always the first to arrive at crime scenes. Once they have cleared the area, forensic scientists and investigators can collect evidence and carry out their work, forming the basis of the records.
Keeping scraps of evidence in place is essential, and time is of the essence. 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 that NPU officers face every day,” noted Manfred Koenig, senior adviser for the investigation of international crimes. “We see them doing a highly professional job under difficult circumstances, and we are happy to continue to support NPU with strategic advice, much-needed equipment and specialist training.”
Along with these visits, EUAM’s International Crimes Task Force also handed over four cameras with different types of lenses and flashes for forensic investigations to the NPU’s Forensic Department. EUAM also met with NPU investigative units, whose teams are often dispatched to the scenes of atrocities due to the overwork of police investigators. Investigators received 11 forensic kits and 12,500 forensic envelopes to support their work.