Politics

RCMP sending investigators to The Hague to probe allegations of war crimes in Ukraine

The RCMP is sending more officers to the International Criminal Court to help investigate claims that war crimes and crimes against humanity are taking place in Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court building in The Hague. (Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)

The RCMP is sending more officers to the International Criminal Court to help investigate claims that war crimes and crimes against humanity are taking place in Ukraine.

"It's critical that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the regime be held to account," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

"The RCMP will support the International Criminal Court's investigation of Russia's alleged war crimes and undertake their own investigation under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes [Act]."

The seven special investigators being sent to the International Criminal Court [ICC] will be in addition to the three special RCMP investigators already deployed to ICC investigation teams, a government official told CBC News on background. 

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a media statement that the additional investigators were tasked following a request from the ICC's office of the prosecutor for additional assistance.

The officers are being sent to The Hague but may be deployed to Ukraine once it's safe to do so, the official said. 

The RCMP says it also will launch its own investigations in Canada under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

The law, which came into force in 2000, incorporated the tenets of the Rome Statute, the international treaty that established the ICC. 

WATCH: Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino on RCMP investigators going to the International Criminal Court

Does Canada believe Vladimir Putin is a war criminal?

5 months ago
Duration 8:17
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino joins Power & Politics to discuss the news that RCMP investigators are headed to the International Criminal Court to assist in its probe into possible Russian war crimes.

Investigating war crimes in Canada

The RCMP says that, using the powers available under the Act, it will work with officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Justice.

Investigators will be looking to prevent people involved in war crimes from entering Canada, and to prevent those found guilty under the Act from retaining their citizenship or immigration status in Canada.

RCMP investigators are also expected to investigate claims that people guilty of war crimes are living in Canada.

In 2009, Désiré Munyaneza became the first person to be convicted under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

The former Rwandan businessman was found guilty of seven charges under the law, all related to atrocities he committed during the Rwandan genocide — when an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, mostly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were raped and murdered.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his appeal.

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