THE HAGUE — International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Friday that a “broad range” of war crimes were committed in Ukraine since 2014, as she pushed for a full investigation.
Hague-based ICC prosecutors launched a preliminary probe in 2015 after Kyiv gave it the green light to probe alleged crimes committed during the pro-EU Maidan demonstrations, which came to a head in February 2014 when pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovic was ousted.
Ukraine, which is not an ICC member state, later gave Bensouda permission to broaden her scope and go beyond February 2014 to include the deadly conflict that has since wracked the country’s east.
Bensouda said her initial probe had now finished.
“My office has concluded that there is a reasonable basis at this time to believe that a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed in the context of the situation in Ukraine,” Bensouda said.
“My office furthermore found that these crimes, committed by the different parties to the conflict, were also sufficiently grave to warrant investigation by my office,” she said in a statement.
Thousands have been killed since pro-Russia militias in eastern Ukraine launched a bid for independence in 2014, kicking off a conflict that deepened Russia’s estrangement from the West.
This included the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014, killing all 298 on board.
Dutch prosecutors say the missile was fired from territory held by pro-Moscow separatists, who were supplied by Russia.
Moscow however, has denied any involvement.
Kyiv’s ongoing war with separatists has claimed around 13,000 lives and displaced 1.5 million.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky agreed last December to a series of measures to relaunch a peace process in Ukraine.