Countering impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine: Visegrad contribution

It is estimated that since 2014, the conflict resulted in more than 40 000 casualties. It has been reported that as of 2020, more than 3300 civilians lost their lives as a result of the conflict and the number of injured civilians exceeds 7000. It is in the interest of the international community to ensure that victims of international crimes obtain justice and reparations and perpetrators of atrocities fair trial and just sentence.

Procedural history of the Situation in Ukraine at the ICC

On 17 April 2014, Ukraine lodged a declaration under Art. 12(3) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014 (the Maidan events). On 8 September 2015, Ukraine lodged a second declaration under Art. 12(3) of the Statute accepting the exercise of jurisdiction of the ICC in relation to alleged crimes committed on its territory from 20 February 2014 onwards, with no end date.

On 25 April 2014, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Ukraine, which is currently ongoing and focuses on the Maidan events, as well as on the alleged crimes occurring after 20 February 2014 in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It is estimated that a number of criminal cases in this regard have been heard in domestic courts of Ukraine (in addition to the MH17 trial in the Netherlands and criminal trials in other States).

The exigence and the need for the Project

The Office of the Prosecutor has reported in its 2018 report that is it analysing the subject matter jurisdiction with a view to assessing admissibility as appropriate. For this purpose, the Office of the Prosecutor continues to gather information on relevant national proceedings. The preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor has been concluded on 11 December 2020. The Office concluded that there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed and that that the potential cases that would likely arise from an investigation into the situation in Ukraine would be admissible.

It is in this regard that the Platform attempts to provide a comprehensive Report on relevant domestic criminal cases that could contribute to the assessment of the admissibility of criminal cases before the ICC. It is estimated that since 2014, the conflict resulted in more than 40 000 casualties (including regular armed forces, armed groups and foreign fighters and civilians). It has been reported that as of 2020, more than 3300 civilians lost their lives as a result of the conflict and the number of injured civilians exceeds 7000. It is in the interest of the international community to ensure that victims of international crimes obtain justice and reparations and perpetrators of atrocities fair trial and just sentence.

About the Project

In October 2020, the Platform has launched a project focusing on international crimes committed during the Maidan events and the situation in occupied Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Since May 2021, the project is supported by the Visegrad Fund and in partnership with the Faculty of Law of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Law of the Palacký University in Olomouc prepared a study titled “The admissibility of criminal cases before the International Criminal Court related to the Maidan events and the situation in occupied Crimea and eastern Ukraine”.

The project is mapping domestic criminal cases involving international crimes. It aims to select allegations of international crimes warranting investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by answering to what extend is Ukraine willing, able and active in trying these criminal cases.

Events

  • Crimes against humanity committed during the Maidan revolution

    Webinar no. 1

    Date: 6 August 2021 10AM

  • The occupation of Crimea

    webinar no. 2

    Date: to be announced

  • Hostilities in Eastern Ukraine

    webinar no. 3

    Date: to be announced

  • Downing of the MH17 flight and legal proceedings related to it

    webinar no. 4

    Date: to be announced

  • The International Criminal Court and the Situation in Ukraine

    webinar no. 5

    Date: to be announced

  • Criminal responsibility of foreign fighters participating in the conflict in Ukraine: Visegrad perspective

    webinar no. 6

    Date: to be announced

  • Launch of the study

    public event

    Date: to be announced

    Place: Kyiv, Ukraine

  • International launch of the study

    public event

    Date: to be announced

    Place: The Hague, The Netherlands

  • Warsaw presentation of the study

    public event

    Date: to be announced

    Place: Warsaw, Poland

  • Prague presentation of the study

    public event

    Date: to be announced

    Place: Prague, Czech Republic

  • Bratislava presentation of the study

    public event

    Date: to be announced

    Place: Bratislava, Slovakia

Project partners