ICC prosecutor acknowledges jurisdiction over possible war crimes in Ukraine – JURIST

Karim AA Khan, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), published a statement on Friday commenting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and acknowledging the ICC’s jurisdiction over possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Khan said his office is closely monitoring the situation, adding that the ICC has jurisdiction over “any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed on the territory of Ukraine since February 20, 2014”. Ukrainian parliament allowed the ICC’s jurisdiction over these matters in 2015 when it adopted a declaration dealing with “crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by senior officials of the Russian Federation”.

The statement makes clear that the ICC has the power to prosecute anyone who commits, orders or instigates such crimes.

Additionally, Khan questioned the applicability of the amendment on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute, the multinational treaty that established the ICC, to the Russian invasion. The statement explains that the 2010 amendment is not applicable because “neither Ukraine nor the Russian Federation are States Parties to the Rome Statute.”

Khan’s statement comes as reports of the conflict suggest the possibility of Russian war crimes. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba complaints that the Russian attacks targeted a kindergarten and an orphanage, promising to send evidence of these attacks to The Hague.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced “a special military operation” in Ukraine. Since then, Ukraine has faced attack from multiple land, air and sea fronts as Russian forces closed in on Kiev. The United States and other Western countries have already announced tough sanctions, and more are on the way.

Khan, currently on assignment in Bangladesh, promised a more detailed statement upon his return to The Hague.

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