Ukraine wants fugitive president to face Hague court

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Ukraine wants fugitive president to face Hague court
An Ukrainian man wearing camouflage uniform looks at his phone in Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Anti-Yanukovych protesters guard a barricade in a street heading to Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Ukrainian men wearing camouflage uniforms march along a street at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Stepping back from the brink of war, Vladimir Putin talked tough but cooled tensions in the Ukraine crisis Tuesday, saying Russia has no intention "to fight the Ukrainian people" but reserves the right to use force. As the Russian president held court in his personal residence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kiev's fledgling government and urged Putin to stand down. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Flowers surround a stone with a photo of Ustim Golodniuk killed in clashes with the police at the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The Shrine of the Fallen, is located on Institutska Street, honors the fallen "Heroes" of the "Heavenly Sotnya" (Hundred). Over the course of the Euro Maidan protests, almost 100 protesters were killed by police. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
An Ukrainian woman wearing camouflage uniform pays respect at the site were her friend Ustim Golodniuk was killed in clashes with the police at the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 5, 2014. The Shrine of the Fallen, located on Institutska Street, honors the fallen "Heroes" of the "Heavenly Sotnya" (Hundred). Over the course of the Euro Maidan protests, almost 100 protesters were killed by police. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre, hosts the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, 3rd right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2nd left, at U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, Wednesday March 5, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris where he is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, about the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula which is now controlled by Russian troops. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)
Pro Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Local residents chopping wood for a bonfire as Russian soldier guards the gate of an Ukrainian infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A protester sets light to a portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich during a protest against the violence in Ukraine at Prague´s Wenceslas Square, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (AP Photo,CTK/Michal Krumphanzl) SLOVAKIA OUT
A woman reacts at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A woman reacts at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A pro-European Union activist wearing a mask depicting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich smokes in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. Ukraine was thrown into crisis last month when President Viktor Yanukovych suddenly backed away from a long-awaited political and economic agreement with the European Union, deciding to focus instead on restoring trade ties with Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
An anti-Yanukovych protester holds an Ukrainian flag in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Two women light a candle at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A photo of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is seen on a dart board on Kiev's Independence Square on February 25, 2014. Ukraine's interim leader on February 25 delayed the appointment of a new unity government until February 27 as the country sought to find a way out of its most serious crisis since independence. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Yanukovych protesters march in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Women holding flowers pass by barricades in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
An anti-Yanukovych protester punches a suspected thief after being captured in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
An anti-Yanukovych protester cries near a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
An anti-Yanukovych protester, wearing a Ukrainian flag with the name of his village written across it, places flowers at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Anti-Yanukovych protesters protect the main doors of the central Post Office occupied by demonstrators in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday delayed the formation of a new government, reflecting political tensions and economic challenges following the ouster of the Russia-backed president. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, who was named Ukraine's interim leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital, said that a new government should be in place by Thursday, instead of Tuesday, as he had earlier indicated. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A man lights a candle at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with police at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. Russia sharply questioned its authority, calling it an "armed mutiny." Yanukovych himself has reportedly fled to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, a pro-Russian area in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton places flowers at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. Russia sharply questioned its authority, calling it an "armed mutiny." (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Rosary beads hang on a barricade in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A woman cries near a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
People walk past barricades along a street heading to Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A portrait of Ukraine's embattled president Viktor Yanukovych is used for a game of darts at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine?s acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)
Ukrainian sailors march in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol in the Crimea, Ukraine Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. Yanukovych himself has reportedly fled to pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A coffin with the body of a protester killed in recent clashes is carried through the crowd in Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's recent unrest, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine?s acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko addresses the crowd in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Hours after being released from prison, former Ukrainian prime minister and opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko praised the demonstrators killed in violence this week as heroes.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
People raise their fists during a rally in Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation's three-month political crisis. The nation's embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, reportedly had fled the capital for his support base in Ukraine's Russia-leaning east. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A protester waves an EU flag at the Ukrainian President Yanukovych's countryside residence in Mezhyhirya, Kiev's region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb, 22, 2014. Viktor Yanukovych is not in his official residence of Mezhyhirya, which is about 20 kilometres north of the capital. Ukrainian security and volunteers from among Independence Square protesters have joined forces to protect the presidential countryside retreat from vandalism and looting. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A woman and child walk past a poster of Yulia Tymoshenko, in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. The party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says that she has been released from prison. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Protesters celebrate as they ride atop of a truck, in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Ukraine's embattled president is calling the country's political crisis a coup and says it resembles the rise of Nazis in the 1930s. Viktor Yanukovych also says he has no intention of resigning or leaving the country. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
People wave Ukrainian flags as they enter Ukrainian President Yanukovych's countryside-residence in Mezhyhirya, Kiev's region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb, 22, 2014. Viktor Yanukovych is not in his official residence of Mezhyhirya, which is about 20 km (12.5 miles north of the capital. Ukrainian security and volunteers from among Independence Square protesters have joined forces to protect the presidential countryside retreat from vandalism and marauding. Yanukovych left Kiev for his support base in the country's Russian-speaking east, but an aide said that he has no intention of abandoning power.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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(Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament voted on Tuesday to send fugitive President Viktor Yanukovich to the International Criminal Court, while his acting successor expressed concern about "signs of separatism" in Russian-speaking Crimea.

A resolution, overwhelmingly supported by parliament, linked Yanukovich, who was ousted by the legislature 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 of Ukraine and other states.

The Hague-based court said it would need a request from the government of Ukraine giving it jurisdiction over the deaths.

With an early presidential election set for May 25, one of Ukraine's most prominent opposition figures, retired world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, confirmed he would run.

Yanukovich was indicted by the new authorities for "mass murder" on Monday over the shooting of demonstrators in Kiev and is now on the wanted list, having last been seen at Balaclava in Crimea, near Russia's Sevastopol naval base.

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.

"Parliament asks the International Criminal Court to hold Viktor Yanukovich and other high-level people criminally responsible for issuing and carrying out openly criminal orders", the resolution said.

Ukraine never signed the treaty that created the ICC, which since its founding in 2002 has handled only cases from Africa. However, the court could intervene if Ukraine asked it to.

"A government can make a declaration accepting the court's jurisdiction for past events," said court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, adding that it would then be up to the court's prosecutor to decide whether or not to open an investigation.

The tribunal has jurisdiction over only serious international crimes, and then only if local authorities are unable or unwilling to deal with those cases themselves. Ukraine would not have any say over who might be investigated.

Acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said Yanukovich was wanted for the "mass murder of peaceful citizens".

Yanukovich left Kiev by helicopter on Friday, heading for his power base in the east, where he was prevented from flying out of the country and then diverted south to Crimea.

FEARS OF SPLIT

Yanukovich's fall has revived fears that the former Soviet state of 46 million might split along the faultline that divides its pro-Western and pro-Russian regions.

Acting president Oleksander Turchinov and security chiefs expressed concern at a meeting on Tuesday about threats to the country's unity in mainly Russian-speaking Crimea. This followed protests on the southern peninsula against the leaders who have taken charge in Kiev.

"We discussed the question of not allowing any signs of separatism and threats to Ukraine's territorial integrity and punishing people guilty of this," Turchinov said in a statement, referring to pro-Russian protests in Crimea.

Some of the peninsula's two million residents call openly for moves to secede from Ukraine. The size of Sicily or Massachusetts, Crimea was formally transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, when both were part of the Soviet Union.

In a fresh warning to the European Union and United States not to try to shape Ukraine's future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country must not be forced to choose between Russia and the West.

Both Russia and the West, while competing for influence over Ukraine under its new rulers, have said publicly that they do not want a split to happen.

Moscow has said it will not deal with those who led an "armed mutiny" against Yanukovich, who was backed by Russia, and said it fears for the lives of its citizens, many of whom live in Crimea or the industrial cities of the east that helped vote Yanukovich into office in the 2010 presidential election.

"It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to force upon Ukraine a choice on the principle: 'You are either with us or against us'," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

Both Russia and the West should use political contacts in Ukraine to calm the situation down and not seek advantage at a time when national dialogue is needed, Lavrov said.

Unrest erupted in Ukraine after Yanukovich abandoned a proposed trade pact with the EU in November and turned instead towards Moscow, which offered loans and cheaper gas supplies.

The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Russia should behave like a good neighbor and let Ukraine move forward in the way it chooses after three months of conflict.

Ashton, the first senior foreign official to visit Kiev since the overthrow of Yanukovich, said the EU understood the need for strong links between Kiev and Moscow, but that a message should be sent about Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Voicing "strong support" for Ukraine's new leaders at a news conference, Ashton urged them to form an "inclusive" government and focus on getting the country through short-term problems. She gave no details of any foreign financial help, saying the EU would work with the International Monetary Fund, which would make its own assessment of the situation.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The finance ministry in Kiev has said the country needs $35 billion in foreign help over the next two years and that the money needs to start coming in the next week or two.

Ukraine's hryvnia currency fell to record lows against the dollar on Tuesday while its dollarbonds tumbled as concerns grew about the ability of the country to pay its debts in the near-term.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European parliament he was committed to supporting Ukraine.

"I launch from here an appeal to all our international partners, in particular Russia, to work constructively with us to guarantee a united Ukraine that can be a factor for stability in the European continent," he said.

"The winds of change are knocking again at Ukraine's doors; the will of the people must prevail."

EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said bridging aid of 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) might be available, Poland's PAP news agency said.

Ukraine's parliament put off plans to vote on the formation of a national unity government until Thursday to allow consultations to continue.

On Independence Square, the crucible of the revolution, hundreds of people milled around showing no sign of ending the protest they hope will hold their new rulers to account.

Maria Meged, 25, a tourism manager from Kiev, came with her mother and father to lay a yellow tulip among the bouquets for the dead that snake in a line up the hill from the square.

"Those who died were our brothers," she said. "This camp should stay until the old president is in prison and every part of the government has a new face."

($1 = 0.7282 euros)

(Additional reporting by Matt Robinson and Richard Balmforth in Kiev, Elizabeth Piper in Moscow, Thomas Escritt in The Hague, Natsuko Waki and Sujata Rao in London andRobin Emmott in Brussels; Writing by Giles Elgood and David Stamp; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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