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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Riunione in formato Arria su “Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine “

Intervento dell’Ambasciatore Maurizio Massari, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Meeting in formula Arria del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine” —

Italy thanks the Permanent Missions of Albania and France for organizing this timely Arria meeting – which we are happy to have co-sponsored – and today’s briefers for their instructive and insightful remarks.

We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, H.E. Mr Jeppe Kofod, on behalf of the Group of Friends on accountability in Ukraine, of which Italy is a member.

Since the very beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war, we have firmly stood by the side of Ukraine and of the Ukrainian people, providing political, military, economic and humanitarian support.

The unjustified military aggression of Russia against Ukraine is shaking the fundamental pillars of the rule-based international order: the prohibition to use force against the territorial integrity and political independence of a sovereign country; the obligation to settle disputes peacefully; the prohibition of targeting the civilian population and civilian infrastructures for military purposes.

As a staunch supporter of the rule-based international order, Italy is of the view that accountability is key to making sure that those pillars which are now shaken, will not be irreversibly damaged. In order to ensure that the leaders, organs and agents of the Russian Federation be held to account for the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, several routes must be followed

Firstly, we must make sure that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, irrespective of their ranking, status and nationality, are brought to justice before competent domestic courts and, if needed, before the International Criminal Court. Together with other 40 States parties, we have referred the situation of Ukraine to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Mr Karim Khan. We welcome his presence and statement today as well as his active engagement in assessing the situation on the ground. The OTP’s investigations must continue unimpeded and shed light on the horrendous crimes committed in Ukraine, especially against the civilian population, including sexual and gender-based violence. We call on all States, including the Russian Federation, to cooperate with the ICC, while respecting its integrity and judicial independence.

We emphasize that aggression is in itself an international crime entailing the individual responsibility of those orchestrating the military attack against a sovereign country. Last year Italy ratified the Kampala amendment to the Rome Statute, activating the jurisdiction of the Court over the crime of aggression. We call on all States parties to follow suit and non-State parties to ratify the Rome Statute including the Kampala amendment.

We are witnessing on a daily basis the level of suffering and devastation that wars of aggression produce especially on the civilian population. Aggression is at the root of all other crimes and it must not go unpunished. We must spare no efforts to fill the legal gaps that enable impunity.

Let me also mention that Italy fully supports Ukraine’s legal action against the Russian Federation before the International Court of Justice. The Russian Federation is bound under international law to comply with judgments and decisions of the ICJ, including the order of 16 March this year to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine.

Italy also supports the collection of evidence by both the OSCE Moscow Mechanism and the Independent Commission of Inquiry established by Human Rights Council, as well as the work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which is closely monitoring the impact of Russia’s aggression on human rights across Ukraine, including by documenting and verifying the number of civilian casualties. Their findings are instrumental to the preparation of criminal prosecutions against those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

We are deeply concerned by the recent report of the OSCE mission of experts, that have observed clear patterns of violation of international humanitarian law in the way hostilities have been conducted by the Russian army, heavily affecting the civilian population and infrastructure and in disregard of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.

Italy strongly condemns any military action targeting the civilian population in Ukraine.

In conclusion, Italy will continue to request full accountability for atrocity crimes committed in Ukraine, including through effective forms of reparation for the victims of these heinous actions.