International lawyers: Ukraine should ratify Rome Statute to investigate war crimes

International lawyers: Ukraine should ratify Rome Statute to investigate war crimes
January 22, 2015.

Kyiv, January 22, 2015. The tragic death of civilians in Donesk today as a result of shelling, as well as attempts to lynch a captive Ukrainian soldier are war crimes. The Rome Statute should be ratified in order to investigate these and other unprecedented crimes. Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chairman of the Center for Civil Liberties, Telman Ismailova, Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights, and the IFHR experts in the international law Martin Pradel and Delfin Karlensa told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Ukrainian legislation does not have a lot of instruments that may facilitate investigations of crimes on territories controlled by pro-Russian militants. Ratification of the Rome Statute could solve this problem and transfer such cases to the International Criminal Court,” Oleksandra Matviychuk said.

Ms. Matviychuk emphasized that the Parliament of Ukraine delayed the ratification of the Rome Statute for 15 years. Lawyers insist that the bill №1788 should be adopted, and Ukraine should recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction to investigate events starting from February 2014. Activists continue negotiations with specialized parliamentary committees, Ministers of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Justice, and with law-enforcement agencies.

Ukrainian activists and international lawyers filed two complaints to the International Criminal Court on cases related to Euromaidan protests. “We all need to put our efforts to enable the ICC to contribute to the work of the Ukrainian judiciary. President’s and the Parliament’s political will should play a key role in this process,” Tolekan Ismailova announced.

Experts in the international law emphasized that Ukraine would not hand over its sovereignty or control over judicial process to other countries. This decision could prevent the most brutal crimes from being unpunished. “One of the best ways to preserve the memory of the Heavenly Hundred is to prevent such crimes from happening in the future. The ratification of the Rome Statute will help to do precisely this,” Oleksandra Matviychuk concluded.

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