Ukrainian Forensic Experts Risking L ives to Investigate Russian War crimes
The Russia-Ukraine war is still going on since March 2022, and the number of war crimes is also increasing.
As Moscow’s aggression intensifies, the war crimes has also increased, which means the Ukrainian forensic experts are working overtime and risking their lives to capture and preserve evidence of Russian war crimes.
Documenting and preserving the proof of illegal acts during the conflict is a dangerous and challenging task. However, the team of forensic experts and allies supporting them with game-changing technology believe is imperative.
To deal with these war crimes Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office and specialists from the 400-strong Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic (KFI), the leading Ukrainian department assessed the alleged war crimes committed by Russia.
The officials attended crime scenes and liberated territories immediately after they are no longer under Russian control. But even without the physical presence of Russian troops, there are still huge risks.
The deputy director of KFI, Natalia Nestor, oversees the coalition of evidence and told that her team were at times exposed to life-threatening military equipments as they worked to record violations of international law.
The forensic teams navigated these risks amid frequent blackouts, extreme cold and all while processing a relentless amount of trauma-inducing material.
It has been reported by Nestor that the bombing of civilian infrastructure to violence, executions, torture- women, girls, even men and boys have been documented to be subjected to sexual violence while in the custody of Russian forces.
However, with the help of state of the art technology, the experts are working to expose the appalling crimes committed by the Russian army. The teams handheld 3D scanners to obtain physical proof before it is contaminated or destroyed.
It has been explained that this equipment enables Ukrainian forensic teams to effectively capture moments in time by rendering highly accurate 3D models of objects and scenes where Russian missiles have struck civilian residences or razed hospitals to the ground.
The scanner is created by the Luxembourgian tech firm Artec 3D, whose CEO Artyom Yukhin has donated 30 scanners in collaboration with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence.
Till now 60,000 war crimes has been registered in Ukraine and the donated Artec Leo 3D scanners, which have only been in use by the KFI for a couple of months, will enable even more to be documented.
The scope for the use of the 3D models includes precise damage assessments, bloodstain pattern analysis, bullet trajectory reports, autopsy documentation, virtual reality presentations in court and 3D-printed evidence.
Digital twins of such data can also be made available to share with external investigative intergovernmental bodies such as the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In the absence of mobile handheld scanners, forensic teams would use equipment with power cords and laptops to temporarily store the data.
The Artec scanners are battery-powered, have real-time processing, and are Wi-Fi-enabled that allow the users to upload evidence directly to a secure cloud.
The firm’s assistance also includes software licences for processing and analysing the 3D data captured.