Written answers

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ukraine War

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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441. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the international criminal courts in the Hague can pursue a war crimes charge against specific individual Russians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23416/22]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction over international crimes, including war crimes, that have been committed on the territory of Ukraine since 21 November 2013. Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, but Article 12(3) of the Statute permits a state not party to the Statute to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC by lodging a declaration with the Registrar of the Court to that effect. Ukraine lodged two separate declarations in April 2014 and September 2015 accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine.

On 28 February 2022 ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced his intention to begin the process of opening a formal investigation into the situation in Ukraine. The Prosecutor had previously established that there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Crimea, and war crimes in Eastern Ukraine, since 2014. The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has, of course, drastically escalated the conflict beyond these areas.

On 2 March 2022, Ireland joined a group of concerned States Parties to the Statute in referring the situation in Ukraine to the ICC. The purpose of this referral was to remove the need for the Prosecutor to engage in a lengthy authorisation process before the Court’s Pre-Trail Chamber which would otherwise have been required to investigate a situation in a country not a party to the Statute.

The Prosecutor has now commenced investigation activities in Ukraine which are intended to lead to the prosecution at the ICC of individuals for the commission of international crimes, including war crimes. His office has deployed an investigation team to Ukraine to collect evidence and has established a dedicated portal through which any person who may hold information relevant to the Ukraine situation can contact ICC investigators. He has also joined a Eurojust Joint Investigation Team together with the national prosecution authorities of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania to facilitate cooperation between them on their respective investigations into international crimes committed in Ukraine.

By joining the referral of the situation in Ukraine to the ICC, Ireland has demonstrated its strong commitment to international justice as well as to accountability for atrocity crimes, including war crimes, arising out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ireland, together with its EU partners, has been a consistent and strong supporter of the ICC and will continue to support its important work. As part of our support for the Court, on 14 April I announced that Ireland will make a voluntary contribution of €3 million to the ICC, with €1 million to be distributed immediately to the Office of the Prosecutor. This contribution will be used to benefit the ICC’s work across all situation countries, not just Ukraine.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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443. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which Ireland can influence the international community to direct further humanitarian aid to those suffering as a result of the invasion of the Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23418/22]

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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The evolving humanitarian situation in Ukraine and for those who have fled Ukraine is of grave concern.

At both EU and UN, Ireland has been active in encouraging coordinated international responses to those affected by the Russian invasion, including reporting on Minister Coveney's 14 April visit to Kyiv.

In its review of Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) published in 2020, the OECD found Ireland to be an excellent humanitarian partner, with a large share of ODA going to fragile contexts. This report highlighted how Ireland uses its diplomatic, development and humanitarian tools, aligned with flexible funding models, to deliver results. It is this combined model that is being used to deliver Ireland’s response to those most affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Irish Aid humanitarian response has focused on those who remain in Ukraine or in neighbouring countries, such as Moldova and Poland. In addition to a €20 million Irish Aid humanitarian package which has been disbursed to organisations active on the ground in Ukraine or its immediate neighbours, prepositioned Irish Aid funds with key UN agencies, and the ICRC, meant that those organisations were able to respond on the ground in Ukraine immediately.

This funding complements the generous contributions made by so many citizens to Irish and other humanitarian organisations who are responding to the needs of those affected by the conflict, many of whom receive core funding from Irish Aid.

In addition, I have activated the Rapid Response Register, with experts from the Register deploying to UN partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

As an elected member of the UN Security Council, Ireland has called for Russia’s immediate withdrawal of troops from the entire territory of Ukraine, demanded that the Russian Federation uphold its obligations under international law and encouraged the international community to provide all possible support to the Ukrainian people. On 5 May 2022, An Taoiseach participated in a pledging conference that raised €6.15 billion in humanitarian and economic supports for Ukraine. Together the EU and its Member States have provided nearly €1 billion in humanitarian assistance.

Conscious of wider global humanitarian need, itself being affected by the invasion of Ukraine and its impact, for example, on world food prices, Irish Aid continues to respond generously to those most impacted by other crises, including Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Ireland hosted an Arria Formula meeting at the UNSC last month on Conflict and Hunger to draw international attention to the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food security and the need to continue to support other humanitarian crisis.


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