Canada to refer ICC to probe alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine

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GENEVA, (Reuters) – Canada has decided to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian forces in Ukraine, its government said.

The office of the ICC prosecutor on Monday said it will seek court approval to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine, just days after Russia’s invasion of its neighbour. 

“We are working with other ICC member states to take this significant action as a result of numerous allegations of the commission of serious international crimes in Ukraine by Russian forces,” Canada’s foreign minister Melanie Joly, said in a statement.

“The ICC has our full support and confidence. We call on Russia to cooperate with the court.”

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

The referral by a member state will fast-track an investigation by allowing the prosecutor to skip having to seek court approval, and according to a diplomatic source will shave months off the process of starting an investigation.

Joly earlier spoke to reporters in Geneva after taking part in a walk-out of a virtual speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the U.N. Human Rights Council, and had said that the country would petition the ICC against Russia. 

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Anthony Deutsch and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Jon Boyle and Kenneth Maxwell)

Photo – People help a wounded woman in the aftermath of a Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 01 March 2022.. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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