Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and the ensuing fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian forces and Ukrainian government forces; Ukraine accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to consider crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on its territory since February 2014.
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan expressed concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said the ICC may investigate possible war crimes in the country.
“I have been closely following recent developments in and around Ukraine with increasing concern,” Khan said in a statement on Friday.
“I remind all sides conducting hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, that my Office may exercise its jurisdiction over and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed within the territory of Ukraine” he continued.
In December 2020, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced that it had reason to believe that war crimes and other crimes were committed during the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the preliminary investigation file was closed, however, a formal request had not yet been made to the judges to open a full investigation, and the approval of the Judges before an investigation can be opened.
It is worth mentioning that Russia is not a member of the ICC, and has objected to the case, however; the court can investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on Ukrainian soil, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators.
We call on the international community to take a serious stance and press the Russian authorities -which had committed grave and mass violations in Syria, Azerbaijan, Chechnya and Georgia before- and work on holding the Russian president and his political staff responsible for those crimes.