International Criminal Court looking into alleged Ukraine crimes

AMSTERDAM Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:30am EDT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court has begun a preliminary investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity in Ukraine, the court said in a statement on Friday.

Ukraine is not a member of the world's permanent war crimes court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over crimes on its territory from November 21, 2013, to February 22, 2014, the period leading up to the fall of former president Viktor Yanukovich.

The new government of Ukraine referred the cases to the ICC, alleging that Yanukovich's troops killed over 100 protesters in Kiev and other cities. The referral runs up to the day before Russia annexed Crimea, so the investigation will not cover any crimes that might have been committed by Russian-backed troops during that period.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, slid into unrest late last year when Yanukovich rejected a pact to build closer ties with Europe. Protesters took over central Kiev and he fled in February. Days later, Russian-backed troops seized control of Crimea.

Court prosecutors will use the preliminary investigation to decide if any alleged crimes took place that are serious enough to warrant a full-blown investigation.

The ICC was established 11 years ago to prosecute individuals accused of atrocities, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its founding treaty has been ratified by 122 nations.

The court is intended to investigate crimes when a national legal system is considered unable or unwilling to prosecute individuals. It opened in 2002 but has handed down only three verdicts so far, two convictions and an acquittal, for cases in Africa. At least five cases have collapsed for lack of evidence before or during trial.

On April 17, Ukraine accepted the court's jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed during the recent unrest. Prosecutors will collect evidence to determine whether to ask judges to issue arrest warrants or to summon people charged with crimes.

(Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Larry King)

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Comments (3)
Batavian1961 wrote:
Excellent news. The ICC will now look at the taped conversations of US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland. Nuland’s claims of the USA spending $5 billion dollars to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine.
The investigation into the snipers that shot police and protesters in Maidan square can now get underway. The taped conversations of Baroness Ashton and the Estonian foreign minister should also be looked at. The estonian Foreign minister that stated that the Opposition whom are currently in power, were responsible for the snipers that killed police and protesters in Maidan Square.

Apr 25, 2014 12:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
@Batavian1961

I admire your optimism.
But the court will be made up mainly of westerners who have their own careers to protect.

Apr 26, 2014 5:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Levko wrote:
That’s a good news, if a real unbiassed invastigation can be done (but that is just too optimistic and unlikely), then maybe we will learn more about the notorious events in Kiev, who really is behind this bloodshed, who started the shootings: the Yanukovich government or some special provocators trained abroad. Then we will able to judge with hard evidence whether Russian sympathizers are behind these events, or whether they come as a result of an elaborate work by US and some allied state services. As we look to the present government of Ukraine and its leaders, and considering the various taped conversations of top politicians,I think that it’s not so hard to conclude that US and some EU countries are heavily involved in the whole process in Ukraine which started last autumn. But most likely that case was handed to the ICC with the aim to find a support for further claims from the present government of Ukraine, which didn’t represent the whole nation, but rather nationalistic-oriented Ukrainins who are traditionally hostile to Russia and it may be just another case to collapse with “lack of evidence”

Apr 26, 2014 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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