OTTAWA — Canada is committing an additional $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give additional funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence against women, as well as crimes against children.
Ten RCMP officers and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.
Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialized investigations into sexual violence and protect victims who may be witnesses in war crimes cases.
Funds can also be used to provide psychological support to victims.
Joly said it was important that Russian troops who used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.
“Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes,” she said. in a press release.
“Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held accountable.”
During a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops weaponizing sexual violence as war criminals.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help collect evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.
Linde said Sweden has also sent “sex and gender crime investigation experts” to help the ICC in its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — “mainly women, girls and children,” she said — as witnesses.
Ukraine’s designated ambassador to Canada told MPs earlier this month that Russia uses sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.
Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling “horrible documented evidence” of war crimes.
“The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are committed (under) the eyes of their parents,” Kovaliv said. “Sex crimes are part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 26, 2022.
Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press