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International Criminal Court ready to open investigations into situation in Ukraine

Source : 112 Ukraine

Fatou Bensouda's Prosecutor's Office has concluded that there is a reasonable basis at this time to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity
09:20, 12 December 2020

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda
International Criminal Court

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda has announced the conclusion of the preliminary examination in the situation in Ukraine saying that statutory criteria for opening investigations into the situation in Ukraine are met. This was reported on the website of the International Criminal Court.

"Specifically, and without prejudice to any other crimes which may be identified during the course of an investigation, my Office has concluded that there is a reasonable basis at this time to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed in the context of the situation in Ukraine," Bensouda noted.

These findings include three broad clusters of victimisation:

  1. crimes committed in the context of the conduct of hostilities;
  2. crimes committed during detentions; and
  3. crimes committed in Crimea.

According to the Prosecutor, her Office furthermore found that these crimes, committed by the different parties to the conflict, were also sufficiently grave to warrant investigation by my Office, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.

Having examined the information available, despite the existence of information on domestic proceedings, the Office has concluded that the potential cases that would likely arise from an investigation into the situation in Ukraine would be admissible. This is because the competent authorities in Ukraine and/or the Russian Federation are either inactive in relation to the categories of persons and conduct that the Office has identified, or because the national judicial system is 'unavailable' in territory under the control of the opposing party, rendering the competent authorities unable genuinely to obtain the accused or the necessary evidence and testimony or otherwise to carry out their proceedings.

According to the statement, the next step will be to request authorisation from the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court to open investigations.

The preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine was opened on 24 April 2014 on the basis of an initial ad hoc declaration lodged by the Government of Ukraine accepting the jurisdiction of the Court, which was subsequently extended by a second declaration by Ukraine, lodged in 2015, to encompass ongoing alleged crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine from 20 February 2014 onwards.

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