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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

ICC prosecutor to open probe into possible war crimes in Ukraine

A International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor announced Monday that he will open an investigation into possible war crimes perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine.

“I have reviewed the Office’s conclusions arising from the preliminary examination of the Situation in Ukraine, and have confirmed that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with opening an investigation,” said Karim A. A. Khan, the prosecutor.

“In particular, I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine in relation to the events already assessed during the preliminary examination by the Office,” he added.

Khan said that his investigation would expand as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to include any potential future crimes falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Ukraine is not among the 123 parties to the ICC’s Rome Statute, which outlaws genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. 

However, the country has accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction over its territory during periods of previous Russian aggression.

Khan asked in his statement for “the support of all States Parties and the international community as a whole as my Office sets about its investigations.”

He said that his office will need budgetary support, voluntary contributions and personnel.

“The importance and urgency of our mission is too serious to be held hostage to lack of means,” Khan said.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday put Russians involved in the Ukraine invasion on notice. 

“The government of Russia and all Russian personnel involved in these operations should know that the United States is supporting international multilateral efforts to detect and document of potential human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law,” he told reporters in a briefing. 

“We are equally committed to supporting the pursuit of accountability for human rights violations, for abuses of international humanitarian law, for potential war crimes, for other potential atrocities using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions where appropriate,” he added. 

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