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May 20, 2014 21:36

ICC consideration of Ukraine events declaration not temporally limited

BRUSSELS. May 20 (Interfax) - There is no timeframe for the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor studying the Ukrainian government's declaration of the crimes committed between November 21, 2013, and February 22, 2014, and deciding whether or not to launch an inquiry.

The ICC's legal documents do not state how long a preliminary prosecutorial inquiry should continue, the ICC told Interfax on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian government's declaration was received by the Court on April 17, the ICC recalled.

ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel said the declaration was filed under clause 3 of Article 12 of the Rome Statute that allows nations, which are not parties to the Rome Statute, including Ukraine, to recognize the Court's jurisdiction.

I told the Ukrainian government that in accordance with its declaration Ukraine is obligated to cooperate with the Court. At the same time, recognition of the Court's jurisdiction does not automatically mean a start of an investigation by the Court, the registrar said.

The process involves a whole host of steps which may or may not lead to an investigation, von Hebel said.

It was reported that on April 25 that ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary inquiry into the crimes committed before and during the events following the deposition of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

The prosecutor has decided to open a preliminary inquiry into the situation in Ukraine to find out whether reasons exist for launching a full inquiry, the Court said in a press release.

On April 17 the ICC received a filing from the Ukrainian government, asking it to investigate the events that occurred in Independence Square in Kyiv during the stated period.

The ICC is the first permanent legal institution in charge of prosecuting individuals responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is based on the Rome Statute adopted in 1998. The Court has existed since July 2002.

The ICC is based in The Hague but can hold its hearings anywhere.

Ukraine signed the Rome Statute on January 20, 2000, but has yet to ratify it.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that by signing the political part of the association agreement with the European Union, Ukraine undertakes to ratify the Rome Statute. This led to the Ukrainian government asking the Constitutional Court (CC) to determine the constitutionality of a possible ratification by Ukraine of the Rome Statute of the ICC in The Hague. In the event of the CC's positive decision, the Cabinet of Ministers will ask the parliament to ratify the statute without a delay.

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