At the end of 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) may start substantive consideration of the cases on war crimes and crimes against humanity in the East of Ukraine and Crimea, according to Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Yevhen Enin.
“We expect that by the end of next year we would be able to enter a new stage of this process, and for this, we are fully interested in strengthening interaction both with the current prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and with the newly appointed one,” Enin said in an interview with Ukrainian media.
He further emphasised that the coordination of all involved government bodies requires strengthening, particularly the prosecutor’s office and the pretrial investigation authorities.
“The role of public organisations is also important, which largely help to collect evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the temporarily occupied territories – both in Crimea and Donbas,” Deputy Foreign Minister said.
Enin asserted that Ukraine has been moving towards this since 2014, and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court made a crucial decision.
“Considering certain bureaucratic features, her mandate expires in June next year, the election of the next prosecutor should be held in February-March, 2021. The procedure for transferring cases will take some time. Taking into account that Ukraine has not ratified the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court will act under the proclaimed statements of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament), and the prosecutor should appeal to the judges of the ICC to approve such a decision,” he said.
The deputy minister indicated that Ukraine does not exclude that the Russian side will try to use this fact in its disinformation campaigns, which are an undivided part of the hybrid war. He emphasised that it is extremely important to clarify as clearly as possible what the ICC can do, what it cannot and how the state authorities of Ukraine will act.
Yevhen Enin added that it is also important to clarify “what opportunities this gives Ukraine to speed up the moment of bringing the top Russian military and political leadership to justice for organising war crimes and crimes against humanity in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.”