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Foreign Affairs | To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the international criminal courts in the Hague can pursue a war crimes charge against specific individual Russians

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the international criminal courts in the Hague can pursue a war crimes charge against specific individual Russians; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction over international crimes, including war crimes, that have been committed on the territory of Ukraine since 21 November 2013. Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, but Article 12(3) of the Statute permits a state not party to the Statute to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC by lodging a declaration with the Registrar of the Court to that effect.  Ukraine lodged two separate declarations in April 2014 and September 2015 accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine.

On 28 February 2022 ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced his intention to begin the process of opening a formal investigation into the situation in Ukraine. The Prosecutor had previously established that there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Crimea, and war crimes in Eastern Ukraine, since 2014. The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has, of course, drastically escalated the conflict beyond these areas.

On 2 March 2022, Ireland joined a group of concerned States Parties to the Statute in referring the situation in Ukraine to the ICC.  The purpose of this referral was to remove the need for the Prosecutor to engage in a lengthy authorisation process before the Court’s Pre-Trail Chamber which would otherwise have been required to investigate a situation in a country not a party to the Statute.

The Prosecutor has now commenced investigation activities in Ukraine which are intended to lead to the prosecution at the ICC of individuals for the commission of international crimes, including war crimes. His office has deployed an investigation team to Ukraine to collect evidence and has established a dedicated portal through which any person who may hold information relevant to the Ukraine situation can contact ICC investigators.  He has also joined a Eurojust Joint Investigation Team together with the national prosecution authorities of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania to facilitate cooperation between them on their respective investigations into international crimes committed in Ukraine.

By joining the referral of the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, Ireland has demonstrated its strong commitment to international justice as well as to accountability for atrocity crimes, including war crimes, arising out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ireland, together with its EU partners, has been a consistent and strong supporter of the ICC and will continue to support its important work. As part of our support for the Court, on 14 April I announced that Ireland will make a voluntary contribution of €3 million to the ICC, with €1 million to be distributed immediately to the Office of the Prosecutor.  This contribution will be used to benefit the ICC’s work across all situation countries, not just Ukraine.


Foreign Affairs

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