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Harris attends conference backing ICC Putin prosecution
Justice minister Simon Harris Pic: RollingNews.ie

20 Mar 2023 / justice Print

Conference backs ICC Putin prosecution

Justice minister Simon Harris is at a special conference of international justice ministers in London today in support of the International Criminal Court’s efforts to secure accountability for Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The conference in Lancaster House, London, is intended to bring together a cohort of international justice ministers and related institutions in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The context is of the broader efforts by the international community to secure accountability for Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine and “to ending impunity for international crimes”.

Ireland has committed to supporting the ICC through financial contributions of €3 million, which includes specific funding for victims of war crimes.

This includes €1 million to the Office of the Prosecutor to assist with the investigation, and €2 million to various trust funds within the ICC to support victims.

This makes Ireland one of leading providers of financial support to the ICC among EU member states.

The Government is also examining ways of providing further practical assistance with ICC investigations and Europol’s Operational Task Force, such as support from Irish agencies such as Forensic Science Ireland and An Garda Síochána if required.

Shocked world

Minister Harris said: “It has been over a year since Russia shocked the world by launching its full scale invasion of Ukraine. In that year we have witnessed numerous reports of atrocities, including sexual and gender-based violence and abuses committed against children. With the passage of time, these reports have neither diminished in their frequency nor in their capacity to shock.

“Ireland has been steadfast in its condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression as a grave violation of international law. We are committed to promoting accountability for violations of international law, including international crimes, arising out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“As the first permanent international court with the power to prosecute atrocity crimes, the International Criminal Court plays a crucial role in fighting impunity for such crimes which have occurred, and continue to occur, in Ukraine.”

Ireland was one of the 43 states to refer the situation in Ukraine to the ICC following Russia’s illegal invasion last year, thereby allowing an official investigation to commence immediately.

There have been numerous reports of atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, including accounts of sexual violence against children and the gathering comes just days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over his role in the abduction of Ukrainian children.

Today’s conference will also be attended by 44 delegates, including Justice Ministers from Ukraine, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Korea and Japan, as well as Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland