The turmoil in Ukraine since November last has put accountability firmly on the table.
The country became the latest ICC preliminary examination after the government used a special mechanism to accept the Court’s jurisdiction over alleged grave crimes during the Maidan protests.
However, this acceptance is limited in scope. Ukraine’s new government should now commit to ending impunity for mass atrocities by becoming a full ICC member.
“The events in Ukraine over the past months are more than concerning, but if the new government joins the ICC, it will contribute to the development of a culture of accountability, as opposed to one of impunity,” said Kirsten Meersschaert Duchens, Europe regional coordinator at the Coalition for the ICC. “Full ICC membership is the only sure way to ensure justice for victims of grave crimes.”
In a letter this week to President Poroshenko, we urged Ukraine—the July focus our Campaign for Global Justice—to ratify the Rome Statute without delay.
Although the country signed the Rome Statute in 2000, its constitutional court ruled in 2001 that the Statute was incompatible with the Ukrainian constitution, effectively preventing ratification ever since.
On 14 May 2014, 199 members of the parliament proposed a draft amendment to the constitution to address this obstacle.
The government subsequently committed to implementing all measures necessary to secure Rome Statute ratification and implementation, along with cooperation with the ICC, as part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement signed on 27 June 2014 (building on similar commitments made in the 2011 EU-Ukraine Association Agenda).
“Particularly during these difficult times for Ukraine, our leadership must be committed to the principle of justice. Aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes must all be fully and fairly investigated to make sure that impunity does not apply to the worst human rights abuses,” said Roman Romanov, Rule of Law Program Director at the International Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine. “Ratification of the Rome Statute is a necessary step for Ukraine to demonstrate this commitment.”
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