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Ukraine asks ICC to investigate protester deaths

[JURIST] The Ukrainian government urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday to open an investigation [press release] into any serious international crimes committed within the territory from late 2013 to early 2014. The possible crimes committed within Ukraine include acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Earlier this year the Ukrainian parliament began to ask the ICC to open investigations into possible crimes committed by former president Viktor Yanukovich in an effort to subdue protests within the country. In addition to allegations of corruption by former Ukrainian officials, Ukraine is also seeking an investigation into possible criminal action by Russian-backed militias within the country. ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel has granted ICC jurisdiction over the situation, but Ukraine must wait for approval from the ICC Office of the Prosecutor [official website] to open the investigation.

The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. Earlier this week the UN Security Council [official website] convened [JURIST report] to address violence occurring in Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russia militias. Also in April an inquiry by the interim Ukrainian government implicated [JURIST report] members of the special Berkut riot police [BBC backgrounder] in the deaths of 76 anti-government protesters in Kiev in February. In March the UN General Assembly [official website] approved a resolution [JURIST report] declaring the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine invalid. The resolution called upon all UN states, international organizations and specialty agencies not to recognize any change in status of the Crimean region despite the referendum [JURIST report].

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