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War in Ukraine: ‘If civilians are directly targeted, that is a crime’, says ICC prosecutor

War in Ukraine: ‘If civilians are directly targeted, that is a crime’, says ICC prosecutor

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Issued on: 03/03/2022 – 15:36Modified: 03/03/2022 – 15:43



In an interview with FRANCE 24, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court discussed the court’s investigation into possible war crimes committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine. Karim Khan expressed concern about civilians being targeted in Ukraine, warning that this constituted “a crime”. Asked about possible ICC proceedings against Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, Khan said: “We’ll see: is there individual criminal responsibility? And if there is, we will take the necessary action”.

“We know very clearly that if civilians are directly targeted, if civilian residences or locations are targeted, that is a crime. And it’s no defence to say that they may be a military necessity if wide-ranging weapons are used; weapons that are not precise or that have a large footprint in very heavily populated civilian areas,” ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan told FRANCE 24.

Khan added that with fighting “moving into urban areas” of Ukraine, he was “particularly concerned” about “crimes against and affecting children and crimes of sexual, gender-based violence, whether in the houses as there’s street fighting, but also in places of detention”. 

“These are crimes that we’re going to really put resources on also, to make sure that hopefully there can be a degree of deterrence, a degree of compliance with what every soldier, every belligerent party from any side to the conflict are required to uphold,” he told FRANCE 24.

© Studio graphique France Médias Monde

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