US launches conflict monitor for Russian war on Ukraine

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The United States (U.S.) has established a new conflict monitoring body which will be used to build legal cases against Russia for crimes committed during its war on Ukraine.

“The Conflict Observatory will ensure that crimes committed by Russia’s forces are documented and perpetrators are held accountable,” State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said on Tuesday as he announced the creation of the body.

He said the programme would capture, analyse, and make publicly available open-source information and evidence of atrocities, human rights abuses and harm to civilian infrastructure, including Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

The reports will be posted on ConflictObservatory.org.

The spokesperson said the observatory was a collaboration between scientists and the private sector.

He said the goal is to contribute to eventual prosecutions in Ukraine’s domestic courts, courts in third-party countries, U.S. courts and other tribunals.

It will also provide information refuting Russian disinformation campaigns.

The program is a collaboration with geographic information systems company Esri, Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and PlanetScape Ai, the State Department said, adding that future funding will come from the European Democratic Resilience Initiative.

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