phase: Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement
The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Ukraine focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during the following related situations. The 2014 Ukrainian political crisis, also known as the Maidan protests, involved Ukrainian government forces and pro-European anti-government protesters. The political crisis occurred from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014. The 2014 Ukraine separatist armed conflicts with Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk involved Ukrainian government forces, Russian government forces, and pro-Russian anti-government armed groups. The armed conflicts with Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk occurred from February 20, 2014 to the present.
In November 2013, under economic pressure from Russia, President Yanukovych announced that Ukraine would not sign an EU association agreement. On December 1, 2013, 350,000 pro-European protesters gathered in Kiev Independence Square (Maidan) and occupied Kiev City Hall. In February 2014, Ukrainian government forces shot at protesters which led to an estimated 75 to 100 killed. On February 21, 2014, President Yanukovych and opposition leaders agreed to a peace deal. On February 22, 2014, the Parliament removed President Yanukovych from office; President Yanukovych fled the country.
The removal of President Yanukovych inflamed separatist movements in eastern Ukraine—Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk. On February 27-28, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups and Russian government forces occupied Crimean government buildings and seized Sevastopol military airport and Simferopol civilian international airport. On March 6, 2014, the Crimean parliament voted to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia. On March 16, 2014, in a referendum, Crimean voters supported secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. On March 18, 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. On April 6, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups occupied government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. On May 11, 2014, in respective referendums, Donetsk and Luhansk voters supported secession from Ukraine. From May through July 2014, after the election of President Poroshenko, Ukraine and pro-Russian armed groups fought over Donetsk civilian international airport and fought over Luhansk civilian international airport. On July 17, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Donetsk and killed all 298 civilian passengers. Despite peace attempts in September 2014 and February 2015, the conflict is still ongoing.
Ukraine is not a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). On April 17, 2014, the government of Ukraine submitted a declaration (dated April 9, 2014) accepting ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014. After receiving the declaration, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On September 8, 2015, the government of Ukraine submitted a second declaration (dated September 8, 2015) accepting ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory since February 20, 2014. After receiving the second declaration, the OTP extended the temporal scope of the preliminary examination.
As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Ukraine is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP will continue its analysis “with a view to identifying potential cases within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
For more information on the preliminary examination in Ukraine, please visit the ICC page.