The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor will join an EU investigations team to probe possible crimes committed in Ukraine, the EU’s judicial cooperation agency has said.
“The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague will become a participant in the joint investigation team (JIT) on alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine,” Eurojust said in a statement Monday.
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Chief prosecutor Karim Khan has signed an agreement with prosecutors general of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine to take part in a joint investigative team to look into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since Russia’s invasion on February 24.
The agreement “aims to facilitate investigations and prosecutions in the concerned states as well as those that could be taken forward before the ICC”, Eurojust said.
“With this agreement, the JIT parties and the Office of the Prosecutor are sending a clear message that all efforts will be undertaken to effectively gather evidence on core international crimes committed in Ukraine and bring those responsible to justice,” the Hague-based agency said.
Khan visited the town of Bucha almost two weeks ago – the scene of hundreds of civilian killings which Ukraine has blamed on Russian forces who occupied it for several weeks.
“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court are being committed,” Karim Khan told reporters at the time.
Russia has denied responsibility for the deaths and President Vladimir Putin has dismissed reports of Russian soldiers shooting civilians as “fake”.
Khan early last month opened an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine, following requests to do so by an unprecedented number of the court’s member states.