25 April 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all parties to seek a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, warning that the situation could “spin out of control quickly,” while the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that is opening a preliminary probe into alleged crimes of humanity committed in the country.
“It would be a grave mistake, in the Secretary-General’s view, for any party to turn to military means in an attempt to resolve political issues that can and must be addressed by peaceful means,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.
“The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the escalation in rhetoric and hardening of positions. The stakes are extremely high, with potentially negative implications for international peace and security that extend far beyond eastern Ukrainian cities,” Mr. Dujarric added.
Despite an agreement reached last week in Geneva during a meeting between the United States, the European Union, Ukraine, and Russia on a series of steps to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine, the crisis shows no sign of abating.
“The Secretary-General cautions all Ukrainians and their partners that the situation could spin out of control quickly, with grave and unpredictable consequences,” said Mr. Dujarric.
“He expects all sides to understand that time is of the essence and that they therefore must cease any unhelpful actions and, instead, re-engage diplomatically to ensure full implementation now.”
Meanwhile, the Government of Ukraine, which is not a party to the ICC, has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on its territory from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.
As a result, the Office of the ICC Prosecutor, as a matter of policy, has decided to open a preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine to establish whether a full investigation is warranted.
Located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, the ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.