Hague Tribunal Recognizes Crimean Annexation as a Military Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has recognized the annexation of the Crimean peninsula as a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and a Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory. 

"According to information received, the situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol is equivalent to the international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation," a preliminary report from ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated. "This international armed conflict started not later than February 26, when the Russian Federation employed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the territory of Ukraine without the consent of the government of Ukraine." 

The report goes on to state that the law on international armed conflict applies to the situation in the Crimea since March 18, 2014, and that according to that law, Russia's presence in the Crimea and Sevastopol can be considered an "occupation." Russia's presence in the Donbass region of Ukraine also falls under the law, according to the report. 

Also listed in the report are several key criminal complaints in connection with the annexation of Crimea, including the oppression of Crimean Tatars, arrests and unfair trials, killings and kidnappings, and forced military service. 

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