THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (AP) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has launched an investigation that could target senior officials believed responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide amid a rising civilian death toll and widespread destruction of property during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced the probe on Wednesday after dozens of the court’s member states asked him to take action.
“An investigation by the International Criminal Court into Russia’s barbaric acts is urgently needed and it is right that those responsible are held to account,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. “The United Kingdom (UK) will work closely with allies to ensure justice is done.”
After informing the court’s judges of his decision to open an investigation that covers all sides in the conflict, Khan said, “Our work in the collection of evidence has now commenced.”
Ukraine’s State Emergency Service has said that more than 2,000 civilians have died since the Russian invasion, a claim that was impossible to verify.
There also have been reports of the use by Russian troops of cluster bombs, with a preschool and a hospital both reportedly hit.
President Vladimir Putin’s “military machine is targetting civilians indiscriminately and tearing through towns across Ukraine”, Truss said.