Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on completion of his visit to Kharkiv and Kyiv, Ukraine
ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan QC visits Kharkiv, Ukraine on 15 June 2022
Today I concluded my third official visit to Ukraine. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the President of Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine, Ms. Iryna Venediktova and to all representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and of the diplomatic community who dedicated time to meet with me during this visit despite the exceptionally difficult circumstances currently faced by all in Ukraine.
On the first day of my visit I travelled to Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine, witnessing the extensive damage caused to this city and listening to the accounts of suffering endured by civilians. My message to those I spoke with was clear: the law remains with them on the front lines. They have fundamental rights which must be vindicated even during a time of war. I told them that my Office was acting with urgency to demonstrate to all those involved in this conflict that they have responsibilities under international law to which there are no exceptions.
Every person who picks up a gun, drives a tank or launches a missile should know that they can be held accountable where crimes are committed. My team is already working extensively on the ground in Ukraine and we will continue to engage with all partners to identify alleged crimes falling within our jurisdiction and uncover the truth.
ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan QC during his visit to Kharkiv, Ukraine
During my visit, I met with the President of Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his senior advisers. I was grateful for our positive discussions and for their expression of steadfast support for the independent investigative activities of my Office.
Based on these consultations, and those with other relevant officials during my time in Kyiv, I can confirm the imminent opening of a field office of the International Criminal Court to further support the continued and increased presence of our personnel on the ground. This will be crucial in deepening our engagement with all actors in Ukraine and accelerating our investigative activities.
On 15 June, my delegation and I participated in a roundtable meeting with senior representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and intelligence services. During those discussions I outlined priority areas for action in support of the independent investigations conducted by my Office. We identified a number of ways in which the cooperation between Ukraine and my Office can be further strengthened in accordance with the principle of complementarity that lies at the heart of the Rome Statute. In this regard, I would wish in particular to commend the continued strong cooperation and determined efforts of the Office of Prosecutor-General Venediktova.
I would like to conclude by underlining my personal commitment to ensuring that those involved in conflict, in Ukraine and in all situations addressed by my Office, feel that the law is something relevant to their lives. Now more than ever it is crucial we bring our work closer to victims and survivors and demonstrate our continued commitment to work together, to the best of our abilities, to ensure that the perpetrators of international crimes are held accountable.
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Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int