Illustration photo – Operator of the Czech 601st SKSS
Prague – Up to 15 members of the Military Police will be able to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, the government approved today. This follows from the results of the meeting, which were provided to ČTK by the government office. The Czech contribution to the investigative team of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC) will still have to be approved by parliamentarians and senators. At the suggestion of Defense Minister Jana Černochová (ODS), the cabinet also supported a plan to send up to two dozen members of the special forces to Niger. They would act as advisors in the country.
Military police officers should support the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine. “Members of the Military Police should be deployed primarily on the territory of Ukraine, however, they can also perform tasks in the Netherlands, where the ICC is based,” said Jiří Táborský, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. The seconded team will not operate continuously abroad for the benefit of the ICC. It will be deployed several times a year, for four to six weeks each time. The number of deployments will depend on the specific requirement of the ICC and the capabilities of the Ministry of Defense.
The mission should last until the end of next year. This year, the costs for it should be 12.4 million crowns, next year 17.2 million. Táborský noted that the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine formally began in March 2022, when 40 contracting parties to the so-called Rome Statute, on the basis of which the International Criminal Court was established, filed a notification about the commission of crimes under international law.
The Ministry of Defense should also be given the opportunity to send up to 20 special forces soldiers to the African Niger, after the approval of the Parliament. “Soldiers would act here as instructors and advisors in building the defense capacities there,” said Táborský. The mission would cost the Ministry of Defense 162 million crowns.
The “Specialists” could operate in Niger either independently or in cooperation with the armies of NATO and EU member states that are already involved in Niger or the Sahel. The NATO countries are specifically the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy. The training would take place, for example, at the Niger Special Forces Training Center in Tillia, which was built by Germany.
Czech special forces have recently operated in the Sahel region, namely in Mali. But they withdrew from the country last year after relations between Mali and France deteriorated and the anti-terrorist operation Barkhane ended. Czech soldiers also left the EU training mission in Mali at the end of last year. Černochová announced that the Czech Republic will continue to be involved in the Sahel.