Prosecutor's Office of Crimea sends to ICC evidence of illicit transfer of prisoners from Crimea
The Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol has sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) further evidence of the war crimes of the Russian Federation – the illicit transfer of prisoners who are serving their sentences in Crimea.
"This is the 11th information report sent to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It is another confirmation of the cooperation of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomy and the Prosecutor General's Office with non-governmental organizations – the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Regional Center for Human Rights," Head of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol Ihor Ponochovny said at a briefing on Wednesday in Kyiv.
According to him, sending an information report to the ICC is "a logical continuation of two information reports that were sent in 2016 and 2017." "Previous reports concerned 189 prisoners who were transferred from the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation. In this information report, we identified additional 275 new victims of such displacement," the Crimean prosecutor said.
Ponochovny clarified that these data were obtained during the pretrial investigation of criminal proceedings under Article 438 of the Criminal Code – violation of the laws and customs of war. Currently, 464 Ukrainian citizens have been identified who have been illegally displaced from Crimea and are serving sentences on the mainland of the Russian Federation.
The head of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea noted that in the information report the actions of the Russian Federation are qualified under Article 8 of the Rome Statute – illegal deportation, transfer of the population of the occupied territories outside these territories.
Also, according to him, the report deals with the possibility of considering this crime as a crime against humanity in accordance with Article 7 of the Rome Statute. "But in this context, there are warnings, since the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine in practice cannot initiate crimes against humanity, since there is a certain gap in the national legislation," he said.
"We state [in the information report to the ICC] that the Russian government continues to systematically carry out the illegal and forced transfer of Ukrainian prisoners from the occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, that is, for the ICC, an important context is the scale and systematic nature of such violations. This report just confirms this context," Ponochovny said.