ICC/Ukraine: Escalation of violence confirms that concrete action is badly needed

The recent escalation of violence in East Ukraine only highlights the urgent need for Ukraine to fulfill its commitments and ratify the Rome Statute as well as recognize the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction [1] over crimes committed after February 2014, said FIDH and its partner organization in Ukraine, the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) upon returning from an advocacy mission to Kyiv last week. Almost a year after the recognition by Ukraine of the ICC jurisdiction over the Maidan events and 15 years after Ukraine signed the Statute of the ICC, such a commitment would send the message that impunity for serious international crimes is not an option and thus contribute to the deterrence of future crimes. Reports in the recent days indicate that 34 people were killed including one child, and 115 wounded in the Donbass region city of Mariupol.

"As violence in East Ukraine intensified yet again, the need for justice is all the more crucial. Victims of international crimes, all Ukrainians and the international community are expecting concrete measures in the fight against impunity and deterrence of further crimes. Ukraine must take the necessary legislative steps to ratify the ICC Statute and recognize the ICC jurisdiction since February 2014" , said Tolekan Ismailova, FIDH Vice President and Director of the Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgystan.

The FIDH delegation and representatives from its partner organization met with numerous Members of Parliament (MPs), representatives from the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of Justice and the Ombudswoman for Human Rights, who all supported the idea of speedy ratification of the Rome Statute. In order to implement it, our organizations call upon the MPs to adopt the bill No. 1788 of 16/01/2015 ratifying the Rome Statute and amending Article 124 of the Constitution of Ukraine. FIDH and CCL also call upon Parliamentarians to adopt resolution number 1312 of 12/09/2014, currently under discussion, extending the jurisdiction of the ICC for the situation in Ukraine after February 2014 [2]. Our organizations underline the importance of an open and transparent debate involving the main stakeholders, including from civil society.

"Next month, Ukraine will commemorate the tragic days of the February shootings and the People’s Deputies will say fitting words for the circumstances. But we believe that one of the best ways to honor the Heavenly Hundred is to do everything possible to prevent such crimes in the future. One of these safeguards is the Rome Statute" , said Alexandra MATVIYCHUK, coordinator of Euromaidan SOS and Director of CCL.

Our organisations, in cooperation with other Ukrainian NGOs, submitted early January 2015 a communication to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor on Maidan events to contribute to the opening of an investigation at the ICC. Civil society organizations also document almost daily the human rights violations and international crimes committed in Eastern Ukraine, among which enforced disappearances, indiscriminate bombings and torture. In areas outside the control of the Ukrainian authorities, to talk about genuine national investigations and prosecutions is illusionnal. The ICC is therefore the only possibility for victims to see those who bear the highest responsibility for these crimes be held accountable. It is important to note that the ICC can investigate and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes committed on the territory a State Party, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator.


To watch the press conference, held on 22 January in Kyiv :
 in Ukrainian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zervk58n4gI
 in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koKgLKHL-QM

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