“Only a court of competent jurisdiction can determine whether the crime of genocide has been committed,” Alice Wairimu Nderitu, special adviser to the Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
During a session of the security body dedicated to Ukraine, Nderitu stated the above after recalling that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opened an investigation last February into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
“My Office does not conduct criminal investigations into specific incidents, past or present. Lacking judicial or quasi-judicial powers, my Office does not determine whether specific situations, current or past, legally qualify as international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” he explained.
The adviser to António Guterres stressed that his main responsibility is to “prevent” and not to “determine”, although he clarified that the serious accusations of the possible commission of international crimes “constitute, in themselves, risk indicators of commission of said crimes. ”.
“For this reason, I can only reiterate my call to end this war, ensure the protection of civilians and speed up diplomatic efforts to make both possible. Prevention is focused on the future, and also on the past, and the spillover of hostility in response to this war means that we must work harder to protect everyone,” he stressed.
Nderitu insisted on the need for the members of the Security Council and the interested parties to formulate an inclusive vision and propose a roadmap to end the conflagration.
“Ending this and other wars requires ongoing action that cuts across generational divides, counters divisive rhetoric and hate speech online and offline, addresses human rights violations, and has a direct impact. in the means of subsistence and the quality of life”, he sentenced.
At the beginning of her speech, Nderitu explained that her mandate as special adviser to the Secretary General for the Prevention of Genocide is to serve as a “catalytic agent” to raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of this heinous act, notify the actors through an early warning relevant when there is a risk of genocide, and promote and mobilize the adoption of appropriate measures.
Reactions from the United States, Russia and Ukraine
The deputy permanent representative of the United States, Richard Mills, rejected the “continued efforts of Russia to distort history for its own political ends”, and indicated that the Council “must do the same”.
“The General Assembly has already rejected Russia’s false narrative and misinformation about Ukraine and other neighboring countries, such as when it tries to smear its neighbors as “neo-fascists” and “neo-Nazis”. These lies are especially egregious and damaging as they downplay serious and decisive global efforts to combat real anti-Semitism and violent extremism,” he stressed.
The Russian ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, replied that although “we tried and tried to convince ourselves that neo-Nazism and nationalism in Ukraine are a marginal phenomenon”, the reality is that “ultra-nationalism is the mainstream of Ukrainian politics”.
For his part, the permanent representative of Ukraine, Sergiy Kyslytsya, accused Nebenzia of taking advantage of his seat in the Security Council to place responsibility for the war on everyone except Russia.