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Human rights activists and NGOs demand ratification of Rome Statute of ICC

Russia is committing crimes in Ukraine that have no statute of limitation.

Human rights activists and NGOs demand ratification of Rome Statute of ICC
International Criminal Court

Ukrainian NGOs are urging President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without delay, says the press center of the ZMINA human rights center. 

“The representatives of the Russian Federation, through their armed aggression in Ukraine, are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, every day. Attacks on civilians, use of civilians as human shields, forced mobilization, use of prohibited weapons, torture, destruction of cultural heritage, and many others - these are not just acts of terrorism, as classified by the Ukrainian prosecution - these are international crimes that have no statute of limitation,” the human rights activists stressed. 

Currently, many officials, regular people, journalists, politicians, activists, and the military are appealing to The Hague as a symbol of justice, hoping that these crimes will be investigated and those responsible will be held accountable. 

On 2 March, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that 38 countries had appealed to the ICC to immediately begin investigating the international crimes in Ukraine. This is the largest appeal in the history of ICC. The ICC prosecutor said at the same time that he would begin an immediate investigation. 

However, to this day, Ukraine has not ratified the ICC Statute, which could create obstacles during this investigation. The organization stresses that ratification of the Rome Statute would allow Ukraine to speed up the ICC procedures significantly. 

“At this time, we do not see any logical argument against the ratification of the Rome Statute and believe that parliament should convene an emergency session to ratify it. Such a demonstration would also give everyone a clear understanding that sooner or later, their international crimes in Ukraine will be investigated. This will undoubtedly have an impact on their actions,” the human rights activists stated. 

They also urged the President to sign the law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Implementation of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law" (Bill № 2689), passed by parliament in May 2021.

“Currently, the Criminal Code does not provide a clear list of international crimes that the Russian Federation's representatives are committing, which later on could cause severe problems with bringing perpetrators to justice. We need to shift from declarations to actual actions for bringing to justice people responsible for committing international crimes on Ukrainian territory.

“We do not want the announcements about prosecutions to remain just that - simply declarations. We believe that all victims of international crimes committed on Ukrainian territory deserve justice. This critical task gives us a chance to avoid such crimes being repeated and that responsible people will be held accountable, sooner or later.” 

Center for Civil Liberties; Crimean Center for Business and Cultural Cooperation "Ukrainian House"; Truth Hounds NGO; ZMINA Human Rights Center; "Almenda" Center of Civic Education; NGO "Human Rights Vector"; DEJURE Foundation; NGO School of Media Patriots; Kharkiv Regional Foundation "Public Alternative"; CrimeaSOS; Crimean Human Rights Group; NGO "Culture against rudeness."

Earlier, the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan (Great Britain) himself initiated an investigation of crimes by Russia against Ukraine. He classified the occupier's actions as "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity." He noted that Ukraine is not a member of the Rome Statute of the ICC, so it can not itself report the situation to its office.

Earlier, Prosecutor Khan published a list of states that have filed a lawsuit against Russia for its war in Ukraine. There are 39 such countries, not 38, as initially reported.

It should be noted that in 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order that Russia would not be a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

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