Ukraine is a 'crime scene', says ICC chief prosecutor after visiting Bucha town

Hundreds of civilians were killed in the Bucha town which Ukraine has blamed on Russian forces who occupied it for several weeks. 
Journalists gather as bodies are exhumed and removed from a mass grave in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.(AFP)
Journalists gather as bodies are exhumed and removed from a mass grave in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.(AFP)
Updated on Apr 13, 2022 05:27 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Karim Khan, the International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor, on Wednesday visited the town of Bucha -- the scene of hundreds of civilian killings which Ukraine has blamed on Russian forces who occupied it for several weeks.

"Ukraine is a crime scene. We are here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth," he told reporters, according to news agency AFP.

"We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth. That requires independent, impartial investigation," he said.

Khan said an ICC forensic team was set to work "so that we can really make sure we separate truth from fiction". "We have to keep an open mind and we have to follow the evidence," he said.

"The law needs to be mobilised and sent into battle to protect civilians".

Moscow has so far denied responsibility for the deaths and President Vladimir Putin has dismissed reports of Russian soldiers shooting civilians as "fake".

Also Read | Over 1,000 Ukrainian troops, including women, surrender in Mariupol: Russia

President Joe Biden, however, accused Russia of committing genocide in Ukraine. Speaking at an event in Iowa on Tuesday laying out steps to lower fuel costs that have surged during the war, Biden described Russia’s actions in the conflict as a “genocide.” He later stood by his comments, but said lawyers would ultimately make the official determination.

“Yes, I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian,” the president told reporters before departing Iowa. “The evidence is mounting.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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