New Legislative Initiatives with regard to Joining the International Criminal Court are a Chance for Justice in Ukraine

People’s deputies are to support the initiative with regard to the collection of signatures and the soonest registration of the draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine that will enable Ukraine to ratify the Rome Statute and become a member of the International Criminal Court, the human right activist organizations including Amnesty International, Euromaydan SOS and Public Freedoms Centre have announced today during the press conference held in Kyiv.

“Having ratified the Rome Statute and joined the International Criminal Court Ukraine shall perform its international obligations regarding the human rights and obligations within the framework of the Europe Agreement with EU. And the perspective of holding the guilty ones liable in the Hague shall become the constraining factor for prevention of crimes of war and crimes against humanity in the future”, Tetiana Mazur, the Director of Ukrainian Representative Office of Amnesty International, said.

“However joining the ICC shall in no case exempt Ukraine from the investigation of the events of law violation in the east where the international armed conflict is taking place. Punishment of the guilty ones is an inalienable part of settling any conflict”.

Last month, the people’s deputy Vitalii Kuprii, started collecting signatures necessary for the registration of the draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine in order to ratify the Rome Statute.

The draft law provides for supplementing Article 124 of the Constitution of Ukraine with a provision that “Ukraine can recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court under the conditions of the Roman State of the International Criminal Court”.

The people’s deputy Yurii DEREVIANKO advanced a similar initiative in the last convocation of the Parliament.

Ukraine signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Code, the constituent document of this body, back in 2000. The following year the Constitutional Court of Ukraine came to the conclusion that certain provisions of the Statute did not conform with Article 124 of the Constitution of Ukraine, thus enabling Ukraine to join this Statute only upon making relevant amendments to the Constitution.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the last convocation recognized the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the period of November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014. Thus the scope of the international justice is limited by solely the Euromaydan period and does not cover the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and crimes of war committed by illegal armed groups in Donbas.

Considering this fact, the Parliament has to apply for the prolongation of the term of the International Criminal Court jurisdiction from November 21, 2013 for up to the moment of direct ratification of the Rome Statute, the members of the Platform “Human Right Activist Agenda” think.

“Today is a Day of Mourning. Selecting a bus with civilians aboard as a military target in Volnovakha is a crime of war with no period of limitation. Thus, the ratification of the Rome Statute is just about the only chance for Ukraine to hold liable those who committed this crime with their own hands, as well as those who adopted this decision and gave the order. Once we achieve the ratification of the Rome Statute, the persons guilty of this crime shall be held liable by the International Criminal Court under Articles 8 (2)(b)(i) and 8(2)(е)(i) of the Rome Statute”, Oleksandra Matviichuk, the Euromaydan SOS coordinator, Chairman of the Board of the Public Freedoms Centre, is persuaded.

General Information

The Rome Statute of the ICC came into effect on July 1, 202, thus having brought into effect the jurisdiction of the ICC. Crimes considered by the ICC include genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of war and crimes of aggression.

Upon the ratification of the Rome Statute by Ukraine the International Criminal Court shall have the jurisdiction of holding liable the persons who committed the cruellest violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the territory of a state or in respect of a citizen of this state.

For more information, please, contact Bohdan Ovcharuk, the Expert on Cooperation with Media and Amnesty International Communications in Ukraine by telephone +38 (067) 551 69 44 or by e-mail: b.ovcharuk(at)

Summary of Information.

The Platform “Human Rights Activist Agenda” is an informal coalition of human rights activist organization operating in the field of monitoring, analysis and development of legislation according to the main principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Platform’s participants are the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kharkiv Human Rights Activist Group, Public Freedoms Centre, Amnesty International in Ukraine, Centre of Information on Human Rights, Centre of Research of Law Enforcement Activities, House of Human Rights in Kyiv, “Social Action” Centre, “No borders” Project, Euromaydan SOS.

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement uniting over 7 million people from over 150 countries and regions, standing out for the cessation of gross violations of human rights. Conducting researches and generating actions the Amnesty International works towards ensuring each person’s ability to execute all the rights declared by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international law enforcement documents.


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