|Referred by||Albania, Australia, Austria, and 36 other ICC member states|
|Date referred||25 February 2022|
|Date opened||3 March 2022|
|Incident(s)||Revolution of Dignity and Russo-Ukrainian War|
|Crimes|| war crimes:|
crimes against humanity:
|Status of suspects|
The International Criminal Court investigation in Ukraine or the Situation in Ukraine is an ongoing investigation by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into "any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed on any part of the territory of Ukraine by any person" during the period starting "from 21 November 2013 onwards",on an "open-ended basis", covering the Revolution of Dignity, the Russo-Ukrainian War including the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, the war in Donbas and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ICC prosecutor commenced these investigations on 2 March 2022, after receiving referrals for the situation in Ukraine from 39 ICC State Parties.
As of February 2022 [update] , Ukraine is not party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2014 and 2015, the government of Ukraine made two formal requests for the ICC to investigate any Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred in Ukraine in the 2014 Euromaidan protests and civil unrest, the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the war in Donbas. The first declaration was for the dates from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014, covering the whole territory of Ukraine. The second declaration requested an extended investigation from 20 February with an open-ended date, again for the whole of Ukrainian territory.
On 25 April 2014, the ICC started a preliminary examination of crimes against humanity that may have occurred in Ukraine in the 2014 Euromaidan protests and civil unrest, the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the war in Donbas. On 11 December 2020, the ICC Prosecutor found that "there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed", that the "alleged crimes identified would [as of December 2020] be admissible", and that there was "a reasonable basis for investigation, subject to judicial authorisation".
On 25 February 2022, the day after the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, ICC Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan stated that the ICC could "exercise its jurisdiction and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed within Ukraine."Khan stated on 28 February that he intended to launch a full ICC investigation and that he had requested his team to "explore all evidence preservation opportunities". He stated that it would be faster to officially open the investigation if an ICC member state referred the case for investigation, under Article 13(a) of the Rome Statute, rather than under proprio motu of Article 13(c), which would also establish jurisdiction, but would be slower.
Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė stated on 28 February that Lithuania had requested that the ICC investigation be opened.On 2 March 2022, Khan stated that he had received referrals from 39 states, enabling Khan to open an investigation under Article 14 of the Rome Statute. Khan stated that the Prosecutor's Office had already "identified potential cases that would be admissible". On 11 March, Japan and North Macedonia joined the referrals, bringing the total number of referring states to 41. On 1 or 2 March 2022, the Situation in Ukraine was assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC, with judges Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, Tomoko Akane and Rosario Salvatore Aitala, who are required to decide whether to authorise the investigation after they receive a request for authorisation from the Prosecutor, Khan.
The countries that referred the case of war crimes in Ukraine to the ICC include the following:
Prosecutor Khan stated on 3 March 2022 that an initial team consisting of "investigators, lawyers, and people with particular experience in operational planning" was sent to the "Ukraine region" to begin collecting evidence.On 11 March 2022 he announced that his office had created a dedicated portal through which any person holding information relevant to the Ukraine situation can contact the ICC investigators.
On 16 March 2022, the ICC Prosecutor visited western Ukraine and Poland to personally assess the situation on the ground in Ukraine.During this visit, the ICC Prosecutor met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine, and met the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, virtually. The ICC Prosecutor joined Zelensky's view that every possible effort should be made to ensure that the conduct of hostilities does not give rise to breaches of international humanitarian law, and declared that his office may investigate and prosecute any attacks intentionally directed against the civilian population or civilian objects.
On 22 February 2023, Karim Ahmad Khan requested Pre-Trial Chamber II to issue warrants for the arrest of Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights in Russia, on the basis of "reasonable grounds" that they "bear criminal responsibility for the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, contrary to article 8(2)(a)(vii) and article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute". Khan stated that "at least hundreds of children" had been deported to Russia, and that Putin had issued presidential decrees making it easier to give the children Russian citizenship. Khan's office interpreted the events as "an intention to permanently remove [the] children from their own country".
On 17 March 2023, the Pre-Trial Chamber issued arrest warrants for Putin and Lvova-Belova.
On 4 March 2022, European Union (EU) justice ministers requested Eurojust to support war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations by national courts and by the ICC. On 23 March 2022, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs declared that it would provide € 500 thousand of extra funding to the ICC and would increase the support "if need be".
The ICC relies on member countries to assist with investigation and enforcement. However, many countries are not members of the ICC, including India, China and the United States.Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016, after the ICC ruled that Russia's invasion of Crimea amounted to an "ongoing occupation". Therefore Russia has no legal obligation to cooperate with the ICC and would be unlikely to hand over suspects for trial or prosecution, particularly President Vladimir Putin.
Since Russia is not a member of the ICC, enforcing arrest warrants against suspects located on Russian territory is expected to be difficult.
Earlier, in April 2022, United States authorities had stated that the US would help the International Criminal Court to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin and others for war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine.
On 19 March 2023, German Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann confirmed in an interview that Germany would arrest Putin should he set foot on German soil.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin refused to cooperate with the ICC in the investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, out of concern that doing so could legitimize the ICC's investigation of United States war crimes.
The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The ICC is distinct from the International Court of Justice, an organ of the United Nations that hears disputes between states.
The International Criminal Court has opened investigations in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Darfur in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Uganda, Bangladesh/Myanmar, Palestine, the Philippines, and Venezuela. Additionally, the Office of the Prosecutor conducted preliminary examinations in situations in Bolivia, Colombia, Guinea, Iraq / the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Georgia, Honduras, South Korea, Ukraine and Venezuela. Preliminary investigations were closed in Gabon; Honduras; registered vessels of Comoros, Greece, and Cambodia; South Korea; and Colombia on events since 1 July 2002.
The states parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court are those sovereign states that have ratified, or have otherwise become party to, the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, an international court that has jurisdiction over certain international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are committed by nationals of states parties or within the territory of states parties. States parties are legally obligated to co-operate with the Court when it requires, such as in arresting and transferring indicted persons or providing access to evidence and witnesses. States parties are entitled to participate and vote in proceedings of the Assembly of States Parties, which is the Court's governing body. Such proceedings include the election of such officials as judges and the Prosecutor, the approval of the Court's budget, and the adoption of amendments to the Rome Statute.
Karim Asad Ahmad Khan is a British lawyer specialising in international criminal law and international human rights law, who has served as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since 2021.
The International Criminal Court investigation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during the Second Congo War and its aftermath, including the Ituri and Kivu conflicts. The war started in 1998 and despite a peace agreement between combatants in 2003, conflict continued in the eastern parts of the country for several years. In April 2004 the government of the DRC formally referred the situation in the Congo to the International Criminal Court, and in June 2004, prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, formally opened an investigation. To date, arrest warrants have been issued for:
The International Criminal Court investigation in Darfur or the situation in Darfur is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into criminal acts committed during the War in Darfur. Although Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC, the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC's Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council in 2005. As of June 2019, five suspects remained under indictment by the court: Ahmed Haroun, Ali Kushayb, Omar al-Bashir, Abdallah Banda and Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein. Charges against Bahar Abu Garda were dropped on the basis of insufficient evidence in 2010 and those against Saleh Jerbo were dropped following his death in 2013. In mid-April 2019, Haroun, al-Bashir and Hussein were imprisoned in Sudan as a result of the 2019 Sudanese coup d'état. In early November 2019, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stated that al-Bashir would be transferred to the ICC. One of the demands of the displaced people of Darfur visited by Hamdok prior to Hamdok's statement was that "Omar Al Bashir and the other wanted persons" had to be surrendered to the ICC.
A preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to analyze possible crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela is currently open. A preliminary examination was previously opened in 2006, but closed after concluding that the requirements to start an investigation had not been met. In February 2018, the ICC announced that it would open preliminary probes into alleged crimes against humanity performed by Venezuelan authorities since at least April 2017. In 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC stated that it believed there was a "reasonable basis" to believe that "since at least April 2017, civilian authorities, members of the armed forces and pro-government individuals have committed the crimes against humanity", and on 2021 ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced the opening of an investigation regarding the situation in the country.
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, on 20 December 2019 announced an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed in Palestine by Israeli personnel or members of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups since 13 June 2014. The allegations include the establishing of illegal West Bank settlements and violations of the law of war by personnel of the Israeli Defence Forces during the 2014 Gaza War, including claims of targeting Red Cross installations. Members of armed Palestinian organizations, including Hamas, were accused of deliberately attacking Israeli civilians and using Palestinians as human shields. Israel is not a member of the ICC and disputes its jurisdiction on the basis that Palestine is not a sovereign state capable of being a party to the Rome Statute, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly condemned the allegations and investigation. According to ICC chief prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan, suspected war crimes by Israelis on Palestinian territory and by Palestinians on Israeli territory during the 2023 Israel–Hamas war are within the jurisdiction of the Palestine investigation.
Tomoko Akane is a Japanese jurist and a current judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Japan.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Russian military and authorities have committed many deliberate attacks against civilian targets, massacres of civilians, torture and rape of women and children, torture and mutilitation of Ukrainian prisoners of war, and indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine violated international law. The invasion has also been called a crime of aggression under international criminal law, and under some countries' domestic criminal codes – including those of Ukraine and Russia – although procedural obstacles exist to prosecutions under these laws.
Universal jurisdiction investigations of war crimes in Ukraine are investigations of war crimes in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine carried out under the legal systems of individual states under the universal jurisdiction principle of international humanitarian law. States that started investigations included Germany, Lithuania, Spain and Sweden.
During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, national parliaments including those of Poland, Ukraine, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ireland declared that genocide was taking place. Scholars and commentators including Eugene Finkel, Timothy D. Snyder and Gregory Stanton; and legal experts such as Otto Luchterhandt and Zakhar Tropin, have made claims of varying degrees of certainty that Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine. A comprehensive report by the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights concluded that there exists a "very serious risk of genocide" in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
During the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia has forcibly transferred thousands of Ukrainian children to areas under its control, assigned them Russian citizenship, forcibly adopted them into Russian families, and created obstacles for their reunification with their parents and homeland. The United Nations has stated that these deportations constitute war crimes. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for their alleged involvement. According to international law, including the 1948 Genocide Convention, such acts constitute genocide if done with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation or ethnic group.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War which began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 8.2 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. The invasion also caused global food shortages. Reactions to the invasion have varied considerably across a broad spectrum of concerns including public reaction, media responses, and peace efforts.
The proposed International Criminal Tribunal for the Russian Federation is a proposed ad hoc international criminal tribunal aimed at prosecuting the Russian Federation and senior Russian and Belarusian leaders for the Russian invasions of Ukraine as one or more crimes of aggression, as a complement to the existing International Criminal Court investigation in Ukraine. Several international bodies announced their support for its establishment, including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament.
The International Criminal Court opened a proprio motu investigation in the Situation in Georgia on 27 January 2016 to look into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred in and around South Ossetia in the context of an international armed conflict between Georgia and Russia between 1 July and 10 October 2008. The investigation phase was announced to have been completed on 16 December 2022. In the course of it, the three high-ranking officials in the Russian-backed South Ossetian government — remaining at large as of the time of the announcement — were subjected to arrest warrants for crimes committed against Georgian civilians. The fourth suspect, a senior Russian general, was not indicted as he had died in 2021.
On 17 March 2023, following an investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights, alleging responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of children during the Russo-Ukrainian War. The warrant against Putin is the first against the leader of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Rosario Salvatore Aitala is an Italian judge and prosecutor specialising in criminal law. Aitala was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court in 2017, for a mandate from 11 March 2018 to 10 March 2027.