Data company Palantir to help Ukraine prosecute alleged Russian war crimes

Data company Palantir to help Ukraine prosecute alleged Russian war crimes

Peter Thiel, co-founder and chairman of Palantir Technologies Inc., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

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

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, Palantir said.

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

The data that Palantir’s software will process relates to claims of alleged killing, rape, torture and destruction, part of 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.

A successful prosecution would require Ukraine to navigate overlapping court jurisdictions and furnish evidence despite often restricted access to suspects or crime scenes. The country is embracing technology to address this task.

Palantir said its technology would allow investigators to access otherwise siloed data while working to prevent evidence tampering.

The Denver-based company, which two decades ago got its start aiding U.S. 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 center on alleged crimes of aggression decided by Russia’s leadership and on claims of systemic attacks on the Ukrainian people, Palantir said.

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

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