NPWJ welcomes support for Ukraine through ICC, UNGA

Brussels, Rome, 3 March 2022

No Peace Without Justice welcomes the strong support shown overnight by several States through the referrals of the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court and the adoption of a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia's recent aggression in Ukraine.
 
At the International Criminal Court, 39 States Parties referred the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, starting with Lithuania on 1 March and another 38 States led by the United Kingdom joining that request on 2 March. As recognised by Lithuania, and stated already by ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, the ICC already had jurisdiction in Ukraine, a non-State Party, pursuant to Ukraine's acceptance of jurisdiction in 2014 and 2015. Nonetheless, since Ukraine is not (yet) a State Party, Prosecutor Khan would have had to receive approval by the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation.
 
With yesterday's unprecedented referrals, the path cleared for Prosecutor Khan to open an investigation immediately, which he has now done. More importantly, besides the practical implications of a now active investigation in Ukraine, the referrals demonstrate a firm stand in support of Ukraine. Further, it provides an important reminder to President Putin in particular that the laws of war apply across the territory of Ukraine and that he can personally be held accountable for violations of those laws by Russian forces.
 
Similar support on a broader level was shown last night at the United Nations General Assembly, which with 141 in favour to 5 against (and 34 abstentions) adopted a Resolution condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine, demanding that the Russian Federation withdraw from Ukraine and that all parties abide by international humanitarian law, among other things. 
 
NPWJ welcomes these strong shows of support for Ukraine and its people. We reiterate our call for States to go further and open their borders to all those fleeing the fighting in Ukraine and to provide financial and military support to Ukraine. We acknowledge many States have undertaken important actions in these areas; the intensification of fighting, including the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure (which are war crimes), necessitate ongoing and sustained progress in supporting the Ukrainian authorities and people to defend themselves in their hour of need. 
 
We also call on States to join Ukraine in its proceedings against the Russian Federation at the International Court of Justice, requesting that the ICJ establish Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide. To do so would be another strong expression of support for Ukraine and its people, and a strong stand condemning the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine.
 

 
For further information, please contact Alison Smith, Director of International Justice, on asmith@npwj.org or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator on ngiovannini@npwj.org.