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ICC, PGO to establish joint working groups to investigate war crimes

KYIV. March 31 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The International Criminal Court and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) will establish joint task forces to investigate specific criminal cases of war crimes, the materials of which Ukraine can subsequently transfer to the ICC, Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin has said.

“Today we heard unprecedented support from our partners… We agreed a few days ago [with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan] and today we jointly announced that we will create task forces working groups on specific criminal proceedings, which we, as Ukraine, will be ready to submit to the International Criminal Court,” he told journalists in Bucha on Friday after the end of the second conference United For Justice dedicated to the crimes of genocide.

He said the first case in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was recognized as a suspect and an arrest warrant was issued against him is a case in which “the ICC plays precisely a complementary role.” Kostin said the Ukrainian law enforcement system is capable of investigating and bringing to court criminal proceedings for all war crimes, but due to the fact that Putin has personal immunity as head of state, Ukraine cannot notify him of suspicion.

“In this case, the International Criminal Court is helping Ukraine, but there may be cases in which, for the sake of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian people, and also in order to ensure absolute confidence in the results of the investigation, for crimes that have received a global level of significance, we are considering the possibility of transferring in the ICC of other cases, including those war crimes that were committed on the territory of Bucha region,” Kostin said.

The Prosecutor General said productive work with the ICC would continue. “We have a plan for this year, there is a certain work strategy that I cannot disclose now, but the result of our joint work is already there,” Kostin said.