The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, together with its partners from the International Partnership for Human Rights, Global Diligence LLP and Truth Hounds, has made the seventh submission to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. UHHRU, as part of the delegation in The Hague, was represented by the Head of the Strategic Litigation Centre, Mykhailo Tarakhalo, and the Centre’s lawyer, Vitaliia Lebid.
This submission contains numerous evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity with regard to the civilian population eastern Ukraine amid armed conflict, including mass murders, extrajudicial executions, and torture. Mainly, these are testimonies of witnesses and victims that were documented by the representatives of human rights organizations. Videos, reports, documents, public statements and other materials from the open sources, which have been thoroughly analyzed by lawyers, were also enclosed.
Civil society representatives also discussed the problem relating to duration of the preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine during a meeting with the representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who are studying the situation in Ukraine.
“We call for the ICC Prosecutor to accelerate the process of the expert examination of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at eastern Ukraine. Under conditions of the armed conflict, it is important for us to initiate a full investigation of the case since the Russian Federation continues its aggressive actions towards Ukraine, and as result, more and more people suffer every day. Of utmost importance is to stop this 5 year-long impunity of the aggressor state,” emphasized the UHHRU delegates.
We would to remind that the procedure of the preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine was initiated by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC back in 2014. Over the past five years, non-governmental organizations, including UHHRU, have submitted a large amount of evidences to the ICC, which confirm the systematic nature and the scale of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the territory of Ukraine. However, no progress has been achieved so far. The case is still at the stage of determining whether the situation in Ukraine falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Full investigation cannot be initiated in The Hague until the final decision on this issue is taken. According to UHHRU lawyers, the Court does not adhere to reasonable timeframes for examining the situation in Ukraine. This can cause a number of irrevocable problems, such as deaths of key suspects, disbelief of the victims and civil society in efficient investigation and prospects of bringing criminals to justice.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, in cooperation with its partners, has sent 7 submissions to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Five of them relate to the war crimes committed by the Russian Federation at the territory of the occupied Crimea, and the other two relate to the east of Ukraine.
Four submissions concerning Crimea were prepared jointly with the Regional Centre for Human Rights and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; the Crimean Human Rights Group has also been involved in the drafting of the fifth one.