European Parliament calls for creation of special tribunal to punish Russian war crimes

19 January, 05:12 PM

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution demanding the Russian political and military leadership be held accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, the parliament said in a press release on Jan. 19.

The text was adopted by 472 votes in favor, 19 against, with 33 abstentions.

As reported by a correspondent of the Ukrinform news agency, the European Parliament emphasizes the necessity and urgency of the leadership of European institutions and member states in establishing a special tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine committed by the Russian political and military leadership and its allies; and it believes that such a tribunal should be established on the basis of an international agreement between like-minded countries, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.

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“While noting that the exact modalities and composition of the special tribunal remain to be determined, MEPs stressed that it must have jurisdiction to investigate not only Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and the political and military leadership of Russia, but also Alexander Lukashenko and his cronies in Belarus,” the report says.

The European Parliament strongly believes that the establishment of a special tribunal “would send a very clear signal to both Russian society and the international community that President Putin and the Russian leadership at large can be convicted for the crime of aggression in Ukraine.”

The MEPs pointed out that it is no longer feasible for the Russian Federation under Putin’s leadership to return to business as usual with the west.

The MEPs also argued that establishing a tribunal would fill a vacuum in international criminal justice and complement the investigative efforts of the International Criminal Court, as it currently cannot investigate the crime of aggression when it comes to Ukraine.

In turn, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the relevant decision of the European Parliament.

“I call on all our partners to support such a tribunal,” Zelesnkyy tweeted.

“Russia must be held accountable for its war of aggression, and justice must prevail.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the decision an “important step toward a legal mechanism for putting Russian leadership on trial and preventing such crimes in the future.”

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said on Jan. 12 that Ukraine will submit a resolution on the creation of a special tribunal for the crimes of Russian aggression to the UN General Assembly later this year.

Earlier Kuleba said that a special tribunal was the only way to hold Russia’s top political and military leadership accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

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