Ukraine’s parliament voted on Tuesday to send fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych to be tried for ‘serious crimes’ by the International Criminal Court once he has been captured.
A resolution, overwhelmingly supported by the assembly, linked Yanukovych, who was ousted on Saturday and is now on the run, to police violence against protesters which it said had led to the deaths of more than 100 citizens from Ukraine and other states.
The resolution said former interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former prosecutor-general Viktor Pshonka, who are also being sought by the authorities, should also be sent for trial at the ICC, which is based in The Hague.
The court says it needs a request from Ukraine’s government giving it jurisdiction to investigate Yanukovych and others over deaths during the protests.
Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday also delayed plans to elect a new national unity government until Thursday. Parliament speaker and acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, made the announcement when the legislature was due to unveil its new leaders.
Meanwhile, a hospital spokesman was quoted as saying Yanukovych’s former chief of staff, Andriy Klyuyev, was shot in the leg by unknown gunmen and hospitalized. Klyuyev was reportedly on the run with the ousted president.
Ashton vows support
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is due in Ukraine Tuesday. He is expected to meet with acting president Turchynov, as well members of parliament.
The State Department said Burns “will urge the new government to take all steps necessary for free and fair presidential elections in May.” Burns is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met antigovernment protesters in Kyiv in December.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday the United States is ready to provide financial support to Ukraine, to complement aid from the International Monetary Fund and help the country invest more in health and education.
Catherine Ashton spoke at a news conference Tuesday during a visit to Kyiv.
She said Western financial institutions are working on ways to help Ukraine’s economy recover from three months of political protests.
“We are here to say very simply, we want to support and help this country to stay strong, to go forward in the way it chooses, and to offer our support in achieving that,” Ashton said.
She also urged Russia to let Ukraine find its own way out of its political crisis.
“We know and understand the strong trade links that have existed with Russia, the strong links that need to exist with Russia in the future and that message needs to be widely understood,” Ashton said. “We also think it is very important to send a strong message about the territorial integrity, and the unity, and the independence of Ukraine.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin met Tuesday in Moscow with Volodymr Yelchenko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Russia, and raised questions “connected to the safety of Russian citizens and diplomatic representatives on the territory of Ukraine.”
Ousted president Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the EU in November, setting off protests that led to him being kicked out of office.
Yanukovych’s party issued a statement Monday blaming him for the surge of deadly violence that wracked the capital in recent weeks.
Ukrainian protesters took control of the ousted president’s offices in Kyiv on Saturday. Others let themselves onto the grounds of his lavish, but secret, estate outside Kyiv. Some expressed astonishment that one person could have so much while others in Ukraine have nothing.