The prosecutor of the Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine

GAGA – The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has launched an investigation, which may be aimed at high-ranking officials who are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide against the background of growing deaths and extensive destruction of property during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Interior Ministry prosecutor Karim Khan announced the investigation late Wednesday night after dozens of tribunal members asked him to take action.

“The International Criminal Court urgently needs to investigate Russia’s barbaric actions, and it is right that the perpetrators be brought to justice,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass. “The UK will work closely with allies to ensure justice.”

Informing the judges of his decision to launch an investigation covering all sides of the conflict, Khan said: “Our work on gathering evidence has now begun.”

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The State Emergency Service of Ukraine said that more than 2,000 civilians were killed after the Russian invasion, and this statement could not be verified.

There have also been reports of Russian troops using it cluster bombs, with preschool and hospital reportedly.

“President Vladimir Putin’s military vehicle is indiscriminately targeting civilians and tearing up cities across Ukraine,” Rabbit said.

Human rights organizations on Thursday welcomed the nations’ request for an investigation.

“The request for an investigation by the Interior Ministry reflects growing concerns in countries about the escalation of atrocities and the human rights crisis that has engulfed Ukraine,” said Balkis Jarra, interim director of international justice at Human Rights Watch. “These governments make it clear that serious crimes will not be allowed and that the court must play an important role in ensuring justice.”

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The court has already conducted a preliminary investigation into crimes related to the violent suppression of pro-European protests in Kyiv in 2013-2014 by the pro-Russian Ukrainian administration and allegations of crimes in the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, and in the east. Ukraine, where Moscow has supported the rebels since 2014. She found that in Ukraine “a wide range of behaviors have been committed, which are war crimes and crimes against humanity” that fall under the jurisdiction of the court, said at the time the predecessor of Khan Fatou Bensoud.

These findings will also be included in Khan’s investigation.

Putin and his military leadership could potentially be charged with ordering attacks that violate the laws of war, said Marike de Hoon, an associate professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam.

“The Interior Ministry was created to circumvent the immunity of President Putin in foreign courts,” De Hoon said. “Now the Interior Ministry can continue the investigation, initiate cases and issue arrest warrants.”

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But she also noted that the Interior Ministry can prosecute the suspect in The Hague only if he is arrested. The court has no police to detain suspects and looks forward to international co-operation to execute its arrest warrants. According to the rules of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the suspects cannot sue in their absence.

The way armies are allowed to act during military conflicts is governed by what is known as international humanitarian law, which aims to protect civilians and deter the use of force.

“This means that a certain category of people – so-called combatants who are different from civilians and involved in armed conflict – can use force, but only against military facilities, and only when necessary, and only by proportionate means. “, – said De Hoon

To qualify as a crime against humanity, attacks must be part of what the founding treaty of the Interior Ministry, the Rome Statute, calls “widespread or systematic attacks against any civilian population.”

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The use of munitions such as cluster bombs is also likely to qualify as war crimes because of their indiscriminate nature.

“With these types of weapons, it is impossible to distinguish between military targets and civilians,” De Hoon said.

Khan has now launched an investigation, but most likely he will not be able to send investigators to Ukraine to gather evidence and talk to witnesses while the war is still raging.

“It’s difficult to investigate on the spot now,” De Hoon said. “But there may be a lot of open source investigations, using, for example, satellite imagery and social media posts. Other states can also share the evidence they have collected with the Interior Ministry. “

The Interior Ministry was established in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. A crime of aggression was later added, which cannot be investigated in Ukraine, as neither Russia nor Ukraine is on trial. The MIA is a court of last resort that hears cases where national authorities are unwilling or unable to prosecute.

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Over the past 20 years, its prosecutors have indicted military and government leaders in several countries, but many have failed to prosecute.

One of the first suspects charged by the court was Joseph Connie, a Ugandan military leader who led a group of rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army. An international arrest warrant for Connie was issued in 2005, but he remains at large.

Another fugitive is ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who has not yet been handed over to the Interior Ministry, despite arrest warrants dated 2009 and 2010 for alleged atrocities in the Darfur region.

When Khan launched the latest court investigation, he warned the militants and their leaders that he was watching them.

“While the investigation is underway, I reiterate my call on all those involved in hostilities in Ukraine to adhere strictly to the current norms of international humanitarian law,” he said. “No person in Ukraine has a license to commit crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”

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Follow the coverage of the crisis in Ukraine in the AP /hub/russia-ukraine

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