ICC studying reports on war crimes in Crimea
On December 5, 2018, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) published a preliminary investigation report for 2018 with one of its sections being related to the situation in Ukraine.
"In 2016, the Office made public its assessment that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol would amount to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation which began at the latest on 26 February 2014, and that the law of international armed conflict would continue to apply after 18 March 2014 to the extent that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol factually amounts to an ongoing state of occupation. This assessment, while preliminary in nature, provides the legal framework for the Office’s analysis of information concerning crimes alleged to have occurred in the context of the situation in Crimea since 20 February 2014," the report reads.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, together with Ukrainian human rights non-governmental organizations, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Regional Center for Human Rights and the Crimean Human Rights Group sent to the ICC four information messages on the commission of war crimes by the invader state: displacement and expulsion, transfer of convicts, violation of property rights, and also forcing citizens of Ukraine who are residents of the temporarily occupied territory to serve in the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
Information messages submitted to the ICC regarding the commission of violent crimes and murders, torture and other forms of ill-treatment by the occupying state, forced conscription to serve in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, violations of the right to fair and regular legal proceedings, imprisonment, relocation of the Russian civilian population to the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and the local population – from the peninsula beyond its borders, the seizure of property and infringement, are being studied by the Office of the Prosecutor which qualifies such illegal actions as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This year, the prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Gunduz Mammadov, and the staff of the prosecutor's office of the autonomy had a working meeting with representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC. The cooperation of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC with state bodies is explicitly stated in the report.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC plans in the near future to complete an analysis of the subject matter jurisdiction, in particular, in the case of Ukraine regarding Crimea, and issue an opinion on its admissibility for consideration by the ICC.