Deputies Urged to Join ICC
Human rights advocates are calling for the ratification of the Rome Statute, reports Human Rights Information Center’s correspondent from the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Euromaidan SOS coordinator Olexandra Matviichuk says that joining the ICC is a matter of adding one sentence into Article 124 of the Ukrainian Constitution. “We call for the signing of this one-sentence-long draft bill, which the Verkhovna Rada hasn’t been able to do since 2001”, she states.
By ratifying the Rome Statute, Ukraine would fulfill its human rights obligations, as well as its obligations under the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, believes Tetyana Mazur, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.
“The prospect of holding the guilty accountable in the Hague would deter war crimes and crimes against humanity in future. However, joining the ICC wouldn’t exempt Ukraine from investigating law of war violations in the East, where the international armed conflict continues. Punishing the guilty is a fundamental part of any conflict’s resolution”, argues Tetyana Mazur.
Last month Vitaliy Kupriy, MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, started collecting signatures to register a draft bill that would amend the Constitution in order to allow for a ratification of the Rome Statute.
People’s Front is the most reluctant to sign. Kupriy says, “There are only three signatures, and even they are from those whom I know personally and was able to convince. People’s Front doesn’t have an official position. Andriy Kozhemiakin was the only one from Batkivshchyna to sign.”
Kupriy has criticized the head of the Committee for the Rule of Law and Justice Ruslan Knyazevich, who refused to sign the registration petition.
“I approached the head of the Committee for Justice, Ruslan Knyazevich, who is also my colleague in the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, and offered him to be among the first to sign, since it is his domain, but he refused. He said that this ratification is favorable for Russia, as it would then begin gathering proof of our fighters’ crimes and appealing to the ICC, while our volunteers are unregulated. They could be considered criminals. However, keep in mind the principle of subsidiarity: the ICC could only open the case when we request to do so, or we wouldn’t be able to investigate”, says Kupriy.
He believes that Petro Poroshenko and his people do not wish to endorse the Statute because no one – presidents, deputies, or judges – would have immunity from charges of crimes against humanity when a case is seen by the ICC.
Kupriy has announced that formal appeals to review the issue and collect signatures have been sent to all party and committee heads.