The Conservative British government was among the first to offer military and political support to Ukraine, and it has also taken the lead in demanding that Russian President Vladimir Putin answer to international justice for his military aggression.
London brought together more than 40 justice ministers from signatory countries to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday to offer their support for the worldwide prosecution of war crimes.
All of them demanded from the beginning that the court initiate an investigation into the atrocities committed during the invasion by the Russian army.
Among the attendees were the representatives, among others, of Germany, France, Canada, Spain, Japan, South Korea and Ukraine itself.
The governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are hosting a summit that coincided in time with the CFI's decision, last Friday, to issue an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for his alleged responsibility in the forced deportation of Ukrainian minors from the occupied territories to Russia.
The court also charges Maria Lvova-Belova, Kremlin Commissioner for Children's Rights.
The Ukrainian government calculates that 16,221 minors have been deported from the country since the Russian invasion, which has been over a year.
"This is a moment of crisis," Karim Khan, the British lawyer who is the ICC's chief prosecutor, told those present in London.
“I don't think this is an exaggeration.
We need at this time the necessary strength to do justice."
Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and is therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Neither does Ukraine, but the Government of Volodímir Zelenski has used article 12.3 of the statute to accept that the court has jurisdiction in its territory to investigate war crimes.
In the case of Putin, only if he were arrested in a signatory country or there was a change of government in Russia and the statute was signed, could he be handed over.
The court, however, believes that the support of the international community will be key to broadening the scope of justice.
"This moment of awakening holds a promise in itself," Khan said.
“The promise to finally vindicate the suffering of the Holocaust, of the Balkans, of Rwanda, of Sierra Leone or of Cambodia and to be able to say to our children that 'never again'”.
The United Kingdom has promised extraordinary funding to offer psychological support to victims and witnesses of war crimes, reinforce the investigation teams of the TPI, or help in accessing data and information from social networks or mobile tracking.
In total, more than 450,000 euros that raise up to 1.1 million the amount that the British contribute to the financing of the court.
"We have gathered in London to show our unity in a specific cause: to hold war criminals accountable for all the atrocities they have committed during this unjust and illegal war in Ukraine, which was unprovoked," said the minister for British Justice, Dominic Raab, at the start of the ministers conference.
In 2022, Spain made voluntary contributions to the TPI worth more than 540,000 euros, also intended for psychosocial support, specialized training in sexual crimes, gender violence and crimes against minors.
"Spain has a firm commitment to the work of the International Criminal Court to support the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine, not only from the material point of view, but also in the judicial field", said the Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop .
The ICC prosecutor, however, did not want to present the recent move against Putin as a victory: “This is not the time to pat each other on the back.
It is very sad and grim that, for the first time, the judges of an international criminal court have considered it necessary to issue an arrest warrant against the leader and senior officials of a country that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council." Khan said.
Moscow does not deny the transfer of children of which the CFI accuses it, but presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect abandoned orphans in a conflict zone.
The meeting in London coincided with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will spend three days in the Russian capital, meet with Putin, and demonstrate with gestures and statements his support for the Kremlin in the face of the attempt to corner Western countries.
Putin's government, in a clear response of defiance, has opened its own criminal investigation process against the chief prosecutor and the ICC magistrates, whom it accuses of having intentionally accused an innocent person of a crime.
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