As Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania last week turned to the prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal over Minsk and Moscow's war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Lithuania was the first state to initiate the Hague Process under the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. Thirty-eight countries from Europe and the world have joined the initiative since then.

“Given that the International Criminal Court prosecutor has made a decision to launch an investigation into crimes against Ukraine, Lithuania is initiating the allocation of monetary support for conducting the investigation,” the Ministry of Justice said in a press release.

The ICC prosecutor announced on February 28 that he had decided to open an investigation into the situation in Ukraine.

Simultaneously, he asked for the support of all states parties to the Rome Statute and the international community as a whole, calling for “additional budgetary support, for voluntary contributions to support all our situations, and for the loan of gratis personnel” so as to be able to conduct a rapid and detailed investigation of the situation in Ukraine.

“Obviously, the investigation of the ICC prosecutor will be particularly complicated: the prosecutor will have to collect evidence amid ongoing hostilities, to interview witnesses, to undertake missions to Ukraine or other countries. The factor of time in this process is particularly important therefore the prosecutor will need additional financial and human resources,” the ministry’s press release quoted Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska as saying.

“Hence the Ministry of Justice has proposed to allocate financial support to the Hague Process as soon as possible thereby contributing to the comprehensive and timely investigation of the crimes committed by the Russian and Belarusian regimes.”

The International Criminal Court is a permanent international court established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The primary mission of the ICC is to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of such crimes and contribute to their prevention.

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