“Since 2014, about 30,000 criminal offenses, which are connected with the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, have been registered. We have already served 160 citizens of the Russian Federation with notices of charges over corresponding crimes. Also, 70 citizens of the Russian Federation were served with notices of charges over unleashing and waging an aggressive war against Ukraine and aiding and abetting these actions. There are high-ranking officials among these 70 persons, including the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, his three deputies, the Chief of the General Staff, the adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. A Ukrainian court convicted a so-called ‘authorized representative of the President of the Russian Federation’ in the so-called ‘Crimean Federal District’ in absentia for criminal actions related to the occupation of Crimea,” Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova said in an interview with Ukrinform.
Venediktova also stressed that the judgment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was very important for Ukraine.
"The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC identified a number of war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed in the context of the armed conflict in Crimea and Donbas, which could potentially be investigated. The ICC is an opportunity to bring to justice Russia’s high command for atrocities committed on our territory. Now it is difficult to say exactly when a full-fledged investigation can be opened, but we want to believe that it will happen this year," Venediktova said.
In December 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court adopted a decision to complete a preliminary consideration of the events in Ukraine related to the international armed conflict in Donbas and Crimea. Completion of the preliminary investigation means that the crimes committed in Crimea and Donbas can be fully investigated. The decision to open a full-fledged investigation into the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the armed conflict should be made by the ICC trial chamber.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has been analyzing the violations of international humanitarian and criminal law since 2015. Over the armed aggression, Ukraine has sent 15 information reports on the most serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ukraine has submitted two applications to the ICC in The Hague. The first concerns the events during the Euromaidan protests, the second – in Crimea and Donbas.
The International Criminal Court was established on the basis of the Rome Statute. Ratification of the Rome Statute means extending the competence of the ICC to the countries that ratified it. To date, more than 100 countries have ratified the Rome Statute.
On January 20, 2000, Ukraine signed the Rome Statute of the ICC but did not ratify it. Although Ukraine is not a member state of the Statute, it still applied to the ICC as the Rome Statute provides for such an opportunity for the countries that signed it.
At the same time, Russia withdrew its signature under the Rome Statute. However, this does not obstruct the prosecution of Russian citizens for crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine.
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