E. Dobrovolska: Lithuania has formally addressed the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court 


2022 03 15

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The Government approved an initiative by the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs to request the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by Russia and Belarus. The initiative aims at raising the question of the responsibility of specific individuals, i.e. those responsible for decision-making under the Putin and Lukashenko regimes.

Minister of Justice Evelina Dobrovolska said that in the face of a brutal aggression committed by the Putin regime against Ukraine, immediate actions need to be taken. Therefore we are reacting with urgency to the violations of international law and we are looking for legal instruments in order to help Ukraine in launching an investigation at the International Criminal Court.

“Yesterday I spoke on the phone with the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Denys Maliushka. I expressed my support to Ukraine and informed him that Lithuania would exercise its right under the Rome Statute to appeal to the Prosecutor of The Hague Tribunal. On behalf of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania I have also offered to grant our full assistance to Ukraine, to begin with lawyers’ services or anything else Ukraine might need," says E. Dobrovolska.

The Ministry of Justice has collected and referred the material needed to open an investigation. In its appeal, Lithuania describes the situation in Ukraine, outlines the known crimes and violations of international law, and provides a legal assessment and arguments. The appeal is drafted in a way that meets the procedural requirements and conditions for launching an investigation.

Under the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, any Member State can lodge complaints with the Prosecutor. The purpose of this procedure is to refer the available information to the prosecutor to check it and, if warranted, launch an investigation into the offences. At the same time, it helps the prosecutor to gather information from different entities and sources.