16:14 Sep. 12, 2016
General prosecutor to target officials in absentia then go to The Hague over Crimea
Ukraine is amassing evidence to bring cases to the International Criminal Court against senior Russian officials and generals for annexing Crimea and fomenting the two-year war in eastern Ukraine that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives.
Yury Lutsenko, Ukraine's general prosecutor, said that Kyiv planned first to prosecute Russian officials in absentia in Ukraine, then take action to the court in The Hague where they could "face the fate of Slobodan Milosevic".
His comments came after Kyiv prosecutors last month published extracts of potentially explosive phone intercepts. They featured Sergei Glazyev, Russian president Vladimir Putin's adviser on Ukraine, in early 2014 directing activists in Crimea and south-east Ukraine to stir up unrest as a pretext for Russian military intervention.
In one call, Mr Glazyev tells a person in south-east Ukraine: "I have a direct order from the leadership to stir up the people in Ukraine … So you need to take people to the streets … The people must gather in the square and … ask Russia to help them" against the new Kiev government.
Speaking to an activist in Odesa in a later call, he says: "It is very important to have people appeal to Putin … Mass appeals, asking him personally to protect them."
Even if the legal path is long and uncertain, Kiev is hoping the cases will provide it with leverage against Mr Putin's inner circle amid efforts to agree a lasting ceasefire with Kremlin-backed separatists in the breakaway Donbass.
"Waging an aggressive war, banned methods of war, war on civilians, use of prohibited weapons, massive violations of human rights, torture … this certainly falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court," Mr Lutsenko said.