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Data company Palantir to help Ukraine prosecute alleged Russian war crimes

Palo Alto, California, US

Ukraine plans to deploy software from US data analytics provider Palantir Technologies Inc to help it prosecute alleged war crimes committed by Russia, the company told Reuters.

Palantir, which has supplied Ukraine with systems to help it target Russian tanks and support refugees, is now working with the prosecutor general’s office to help investigators across Europe pool and process data, the company said.

Local residents stand next to an apartment building damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on 14th April, 2023

Local residents stand next to an apartment building damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on 14th April, 2023. PICTURE Press service of the Donetsk Regional Military-Civil Administration/Handout via Reuters.

Its software will combine intelligence and satellite imagery to build a map of evidence, for instance establishing the proximity of Russian equipment to crime scenes or aggregating photographs that Ukrainians have uploaded to social media and investigators see as relevant evidence, Palantir said.

Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said in a statement provided by Palantir: “Analysing this amount of evidence would be virtually impossible without modern IT solutions.”

The data that Palantir’s software will process relates to allegations of unlawful killing, rape, torture and destruction among the more than 78,000 crimes reported in Ukraine since Russia invaded more than a year ago. 

Moscow has denied attacking civilians or perpetrating war crimes.

Any successful war crimes prosecution will require Ukraine to navigate overlapping court jurisdictions and furnish evidence despite often restricted access to suspects or crime scenes.

Palantir said its technology would allow investigators to access otherwise ring-fenced data while guarding against evidence tampering.

The Denver-based company, which two decades ago got its start aiding US intelligence services, recently reported its first profitable quarter.

For now, Palantir is not charging for the war-crimes work, a spokesperson said.

Its partnership with Ukrainian prosecutors will centre on alleged crimes of aggression ordered by Russia’s leadership and on claims of systematic attacks on the Ukrainian people, Palantir said.

A UN-mandated investigative body last month accused Russia of war crimes, though its chair said it had not found evidence of genocide, which is being investigated by Ukraine.


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