International Criminal Court (ICCP) prosecutor Karim Khan. Photo courtesy of ICC official website
Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement Monday night that the investigation will look at alleged crimes committed before the Russian invasion, but added that ``given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of my office that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.''
The court already has conducted a preliminary probe into crimes linked to the violent suppression of pro-European protests in Kyiv in 2013-2014 and allegations of crimes in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and eastern Ukraine.
In December 2020, the then-ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the probe uncovered indications that ``a broad range of conduct constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed'' in Ukraine.
However, the court's prosecutors had not yet sought permission from judges to open a full-scale investigation.
Khan says he now will open the investigation envisaged by his predecessor and broaden it to include crimes committed in fighting since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week.
He added, " I will continue to closely follow developments on the ground in Ukraine, and again call for restraint and strict adherence to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law."