The law update no.2689 found approval of 248 Ukrainian MPs.

According to the explanatory notes,  its new amendments  aim to ‘provide full implementation of international criminal and humanitarian law in respect to criminal prosecution for international crimes (genocide, aggression crimes, crimes against humanity, and war crimes) and .. meeting the international obligations to prevent judicial and factual impunity on committing such crimes.’

Article 8 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code is amended to make such crimes ‘subject to the principle of universal jurisdiction’ with disregard to the place of crime, citizenship of an offender or a defendant.

Article 311 saw the update that introduces ‘criminal liability of military commanders or the ones acting in such capacity’.

The policy also updated several  Criminal Code articles regulatins statute of limitations, complicity in crimes, mitigation of crime circumstances, and exemption of liability.

The Criminal Code also got changes its Special part (section XX) to clarify criminal liability for crimes against peace, security and international law and order.

The passed legislation drew criticism of the opposition that called for its revision.

Key amendments

Under the updated policy, ‘planning, preparation, initiation or execution of an act of aggression by a person in a position to exercise effective control or leadership over the political or military actions of a state, due to its nature, seriousness and scale [.. ] is punished by  ten to fifteen years in prison.


International armed conflict crimes carry the prison term of 6-to-12 years and will include:

  • (in)direct relocation of the state-aggressor civilians to occupied territories
  • another warring party using forceful draft of military detainees or persons under international humanitarian law protection
  • forcing civilians of another warring party into involvement in military acts against their own country
  • unfounded delays in return of military detainees or persons under international humanitarian law protection

International or local armed conflict crimes against persons under international humanitarian law protection will carry a term of 7-15 years in prison and will include:

  • forceful eviction and deportation of civilians from their residences
  • recruitment and involvement of underage persons by military and paramilitary forces
  • denying persons under international humanitarian law protection their right to fair trial procedures
  • acts against human dignity
  • taking captives
  • rape, sexual exploitation and other forms of sexual abuse
  • torture, unlawful experiments, use of people as illegal transplantation donors and other acts inhumane treatment
  • Infliction of medium and serious bodily injuries.

Premeditated murder of a person under international humanitarian law protection will carry 10-15 years in prison.