The Verkhovna Rada passed a bill on punishment for war crimes

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Bill №2689 “On Amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine Concerning the Implementation of the Norms of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law”. In the second contemplation it was supported by 248 people’s deputies.

The law aims to ensure the full implementation of the international criminal provisions and humanitarian law on criminal prosecution for international crimes (genocide, crime of aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes).

“The situation as a result of which Ukraine today is deprived of the opportunity to exercise effective control over part of its territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation (territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and partly Donetsk and Luhansk regions) qualifies as an international armed conflict and international humanitarian law serious violations of which are recognized as international crimes, first of all – war crimes, ”the explanatory note to the draft law reads ( ).

It is noted that in addition to war crimes in the occupied territories, crimes against humanity are also committed, but the perpetrators of most of them managed to avoid responsibility, in particular due to the inconsistency of Ukrainian criminal law with international criminal and humanitarian law. The Criminal Code simply did not provide for liability for crimes against humanity and for war crimes that constitute a violation of customary rather than treaty international humanitarian law.

The adoption of this law is an extremely important step for Ukraine, as international crimes have no statute of limitations.

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