On 28 February 2022, I announced my decision to seek authorisation to open an investigation into the Situation in Ukraine, on the basis of my Office’s earlier conclusions arising from its preliminary examination, and encompassing any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”). By 2 March, my Office had received referrals of the Situation in Ukraine from 39 ICC States Parties, allowing me to immediately open an investigation and commence evidence-collection.
Today, I can confirm that an additional two States, Japan and North Macedonia have referred the situation in Ukraine to my Office, bringing the total number of referring States to 41.
I note that this action by Japan represents an expansion of the regional groups engaged in the referral of the Ukraine situation. They are the first Asian State to do so. I am grateful to Japan for this further expression of their staunch support for the work of my Office, which is already reflected by their position as a leading financial contributor to the ICC.
My Office has responded immediately to this unprecedented collective call for action by States Parties. The investigative team that I deployed to the region last week has already commenced evidence-collection activities. I am also personally seeking to engage with all relevant stakeholders and parties to the conflict with the aim of strengthening channels for the collection of relevant information and engendering coordinated action towards our common goal of ensuring accountability for crimes falling within ICC jurisdiction.
International criminal investigations require the engagement of all those who may hold information relevant to our work. Witnesses, survivors, and affected communities, in particular, must be empowered to actively contribute to our investigations. There can be no bystanders in our effort to establish the truth and pursue those allegedly responsible for international crimes.
I can therefore announce today that my Office has established a dedicated portal through which any person that may hold information relevant to the Ukraine situation can contact our investigators. I encourage all those with relevant information to come forward and contact our Team through this platform, which can be accessed here.
We will be circulating this portal widely on social media channels, and I would encourage all relevant stakeholders, including media outlets, both local to the Situation in Ukraine and internationally, to raise awareness of this platform.
The collective support of all States Parties and the international community more broadly will also continue to be essential as my Office moves to accelerate its work across all its investigations. To this end, I can further announce that I have circulated a formal communication extending an invitation to all States Parties to provide assistance to my Office, including through voluntary financial contributions and the provision of national experts on a secondment basis. This will be essential in addressing the urgent resource needs of my Office and in allowing us to effectively address all situations presently under investigation or in a trial. I have already been encouraged by the initial response from States Parties to this call for support.
I wish to conclude by underlining that, as our investigation team continues its work on the ground, I am closely following the deeply troubling developments in hostilities. The events of recent days require me to again emphasise that all those involved in this conflict must adhere strictly to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law.
I note, in particular, that if attacks are intentionally directed against the civilian population: that is a crime. If attacks are intentionally directed against civilian objects: that is a crime. I strongly urge parties to the conflict to avoid the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.
There is no legal justification, there is no excuse, for attacks that are indiscriminate or which are disproportionate in their effects on the civilian population.
My Office will continue its work on the Situation in Ukraine and will seek to further deepen its engagement with all actors in pursuit of our common objective of ensuring accountability for international crimes.
Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int