KYIV — Ukraine’s top prosecutor says the country is moving toward opening an office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as Kyiv seeks to establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russian officials responsible for the war.
The ICC is currently probing possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the war in Ukraine but it has no mandate to pursue the broader crime of aggression.
“Today, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a memorandum between the Ukraine government and the International Criminal Court, which will allow the opening of the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in Ukraine in the near future,” the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin said.
Kostin told a justice conference in Lviv it would “allow the ICC prosecutor to more fully investigate international crimes committed in Ukraine”.
Speaking at the conference, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country “will further strengthen our relationship with the ICC”.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin and all his accomplices must receive lawful and fair sentences,” Zelensky said, adding that Kyiv has registered “over 70,000 Russian war crimes” committed in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the chief of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner said his fighters had “practically encircled” Bakhmut, an eastern Ukrainian city that Russia has been trying to seize for months.
Bakhmut has seen the longest and bloodiest battle of the offensive. The Wagner group, a once-shadowy force founded by Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has taken centerstage in the fight.
“If earlier we were fighting against the professional army, we now increasingly see old people and children,” Prigozhin said in the video filmed from a building’s rooftop.
“They are fighting, but their life expectancy in Bakhmut is now very short, one day or two… give them a chance to leave the city,” he said. — Euronews