Andriy Smyrnov, Ukraine’s deputy head of the presidential administration, said on Thursday that Ukraine believed trying Russia separately for their ‘act of aggression’, with international participation, would speed up its quest to hold the Russian president and his inner circle accountable. On Thursday, three people were killed and 23 injured by two Russian attacks in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, according to the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office.
The Russian invasion – accepted by UN members as an international crime – cannot be tried by the international criminal court due to lack of jurisdiction, but is considered the gravest international crime because of its subsequent consequences.
Mr Smyrnov said the act of aggression, for which Ukraine would initiate additional proceedings, was easy to prove, whereas the type of cases that the ICC could try in relation to Ukraine – war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity – would take years.
He said: “The fact that [Russia] invaded Ukraine with their army is a fact accepted by our international partners.
“We hope to have the indictment within three months.”
Mr Smyrnov said a judgement made by an international tribunal would still go some way towards justice for Ukraine even without the accused in custody.
Anton Korynevych, ambassador-at-large for Ukraine, who is leading talks with international partners on the matter said: “Already to have an indictment and to have an arrest warrant for Putin, for [Russia’s defence minister Sergei] Shoigu … will be a big step forward in getting justice.
“They will be claimed and labelled as potential criminals by an international and legitimate tribunal.”
He added: “Then, whenever they [travel] to a state which recognises the tribunal, problems for them might arise.
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He said, however, that it was too early and too sensitive to name the countries that had agreed.
He continued: “Yes, Ukrainians will be involved, it will be necessary to have a Ukrainian prosecutor, but we hope the judges will be international.”
Earlier this week, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, dismissed Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova.
In President Zelensky’s nightly address to the nation, he said Iryna Venediktova and the head of Ukraine’s intelligence service, Ivan Bakanov, had Russian collaborators in their departments.