" It's a time for action," ICC prosecutor says after UN Ukraine meeting
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan said on Wednesday (April 27) that it was time to “stand up for justice” in Ukraine.
"This is not a time for talking, it's a time for action,” Khan said, after an informal U.N. Security Council meeting on accountability in Ukraine, organized by France and Albania. “International law cannot be a passive spectator. It can't be sedentary. It needs to move with alacrity to protect and to insist on accountability.”
Khan opened an investigation into Ukraine a week after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.
"Nobody should be a bystander, because if we don't stand up for justice now, who will stand up for justice for any of us?" he said.
Meanwhile, Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urged countries to focus on international justice for war crimes in Ukraine so evidence does not sit in storage - as it has done for victims of Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
"Ukraine is today, a slaughterhouse. Right in the heart of Europe", she said.
Clooney recalled a 2017 Security Council vote to approve a measure she helped lobby for - the creation of a U.N. team to collect, preserve and store evidence of possible international crimes committed by the Islamic State in Iraq. It was the same year her son and daughter with U.S. actor George Clooney were born.
"My children are now almost 5, and so far most of the evidence collected by the U.N. is in storage – because there is no international court to put ISIS on trial," she said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), which handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of aggression, has no jurisdiction because Iraq and Syria are not members.
Clooney is part of an international legal task force advising Ukraine on securing accountability for Ukrainian victims in national jurisdictions and working with the Hague-based ICC.
Russian diplomat Sergey Leonidchenko described the ICC as a "political instrument." He accused the United States and Britain of the hypocrisy of supporting the ICC inquiry in Ukraine after doing "everything imaginable to shield their military."
Moscow describes its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine as a "special military operation" and denies targeting civilians.
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova's office has told Reuters it is preparing war crimes charges against at least seven Russian military personnel.