Russia’s war crimes: the world’s justice ministers to support the ICC investigation

January 9,2023 664
Russia’s war crimes: the world’s justice ministers to support the ICC investigation

Justice ministers from around the world will convene in London in March to support the International Criminal Court investigating Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine, according to a press release published on the U.K. Government website Saturday.

The meeting, cohosted by U.K. Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab and Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, is intended to increase the global financial and practical support being offered to the ICC and coordinate efforts to ensure it has all it needs to carry out investigations and prosecute those responsible.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan KC is supposed to make a report on the Court’s work and the role of the international community in supporting its investigations.

“Russian forces should know they cannot act with impunity and we will back Ukraine until justice is served […] Almost a year on from the illegal invasion, the international community must give its strongest backing to the ICC so war criminals can be held to account for the atrocities we’re witnessing,” said Dominic Raab, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor.

According to Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the “reports and images of Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked armed attack on Ukraine are horrific. For us it is crystal clear: these crimes may not go unpunished […] During this timely meeting we will continue to coordinate with our partners to ensure that support to the ICC and the Ukrainian authorities is offered.”

Simultaneously with the announcement of the justice ministers’ meeting, British politicians across the political divide have called for a special tribunal to investigate Russia’s “crime of aggression” in Ukraine to complement the ICC investigation, according to CNN.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown published a statement proposing “the creation of a special tribunal with a limited focus on the crime of aggression.” The proposal has gained support from British politicians including opposition leader Keir Starmer and former Conservative party leader and MP Iain Duncan Smith.

The ICC is unable to probe a crime of aggression if the alleged act is committed by a state that is not a party to the Rome statute which established the court unless the UN Security Council refers the matter to it.

As Russia has not ratified the Rome statute and would likely “exercise its veto in the Security Council against a referral” the ICC has been left unable to “investigate crimes of aggression against Ukraine,” the statement said.

During the 77th UN General Assembly in September, the Ukrainian World Congress called upon global leaders and all peace-loving nations to “make impactful decisions that will help stop Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine and the resulting global economic and geopolitical crisis.”

“We call upon the United Nations General Assembly and global leaders to take immediate action to create an International War Crimes Tribunal which would prosecute the Russian Federation, its leadership and everyone who is responsible or complicit in war crimes and crimes against the people of Ukraine. In addition, the UNGA must strip Russia of its UN Security Council veto,” UWC President Paul Grod said.

Photo: A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

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