Ukraine: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome formal acceptance of ICC jurisdiction and call for its extension to the situation in Crimea

17 Apr, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels, Rome – 17 April 2014


Today, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Herman von Hebel, received a declaration from Ukraine accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes committed in its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014. Ukraine signed the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, on 20 January 2000 but has not ratified it yet. The declaration was lodged under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, which enables a State not party to the Statute to accept the exercise of jurisdiction of the Court. It is now up to ICC Prosecutor, on the basis of information she receives and collects, to determine the admissibility of the request and decide whether or not to open an investigation on the situation.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:  

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the Ukraine Government’s formal acceptance of ICC jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed between 21 November 2013 and 22 February 2014 as an important step to ensure accountability and strengthen the rule of law in the country.

“However, it is regrettable that the end-date on the referral would exclude ICC jurisdiction over the current alarming situation in Crimea. Ukraine should not limit the temporal scope of the declaration – allowing an indeterminate end date for jurisdiction would demonstrate its commitment to abiding by the laws of war. This would also multiply the deterrent effect that giving the Court jurisdiction could have in preventing the commission of serious crimes in Crimea, including the potentially worrying spectre of crimes against minorities.

“We also call on Ukraine to take all necessary legislative action to ratify the Rome Statute and ensure its proper implementation. Ukraine has not yet ratified the Rome ICC Statute and in a July 2001 ruling, its Constitutional Court expressly required a constitutional amendment before ratification could take place. The Ukrainian Parliament should respond to this legal challenge in order to embed its commitment to fight impunity for serious crimes under international law fully and properly within Ukraine’s judicial and political system and ensure it has the legal basis for full cooperation with the ICC. By doing so, the Rada would send a strong signal to the people of Ukraine that the principle of legality has meaning in a new Ukraine”.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548 3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.