There is a certain opinion on Crimea, while the situation in the East Ukraine is far more complicated and the ICC will take more time to study it and might recognize Russia’s direct involvement.
Recently, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an annual report on the activities of her Office in 2016. The report section dedicated to Ukraine informs about the Maidan events, Crimea occupation and hostilities in Donbas. If in case of the Maidan events the prosecutor is still waiting for the evidence of “systematic and widespread” violations that will allow her to qualify them as crimes against humanity, the presence of international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine caused by occupation of Crimea by Russia is almost proved. This was stated by Wayne Jordash QC, managing partner of GRC (Global Rights Compliance) at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We are quite optimistic about the investigation by the Ukrainian party. I doubt very much that the prosecutor will not reach a clear conclusion [concerning the international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine]. The prosecutor will continue the preliminary investigation of those war crimes, which could take place within the conflict. Among them are forced displacement, persecution and murder of Crimean Tatars,” noted Mr. Jordash.
As to the situation in eastern Ukraine, the ICC is still studying the evidence that there is an international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. If the situation in Crimea is obvious, the situation in eastern Ukraine is more complicated from the international law standpoint. According to Wayne Jordash, there are two ways to prove involvement of Russia in the war. The first one is the direct participation of the Russian army in the war against Ukraine. Incidentally, the prosecutor has already said that there are signs indicating this. “Ukraine should submit more information that Russia is providing logistics, military and is directly involved in the conflict,” explained the managing partner of GRC. The second one is the RF’s control over armed groups in Donbas. “The prosecutor needs the proof that Russia is directly controlling the armed groups and that the Russian military are commanding the separatists,” noted Mr. Jordash.