Karim Ahmed Khan, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, has spoken out against the establishment of a special tribunal on Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. (archive image)
This could undermine the work of the ICC, Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan warned in The Hague on Monday. “We should avoid fragmentation and instead work on the merger.”
He called on the international community to support and fund the ICC’s investigations. «We must not fail. We need the means to do our job. We don’t have those funds,” Khan said.
Since Russia does not recognize the ICC, the court can investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. But he cannot take action against Moscow for the crime of aggression.
That is why EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed a special tribunal to punish “Russian crimes” in Ukraine last week. The EU also justified the move by saying that heads of state like Russian President Vladimir Putin would enjoy immunity from prosecution by the ICC.
Khan now contradicted this: The ICC member states could find ways to allow the court to prosecute a third country. The EU also “misrepresented” the law on immunity.
The ICC launched investigations into alleged war crimes shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. However, the Criminal Court also stated that it was important for Ukraine to bring the accused to court itself if possible. The ICC is the highest international court and has been prosecuting particularly serious crimes such as war crimes since 2002.