The plan for a special international tribunal to investigate Russia’s alleged “crime of aggression” is headed by Andrijus Smirnov, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration.
The definition of the crime of aggression was adopted in the 2010 Rome Statute, and a similar concept of “crime against peace” was used in the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been dealing with the most serious crimes for 20 years, is already investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine.
However, he cannot deal with accusations of aggression because neither Ukraine nor Russia has ratified the Rome Statute.
This court is “the only way to ensure that the criminals who started the war in Ukraine are quickly brought to justice,” A. Smirnov told AFP. – The world has a short memory. Therefore, I would like this tribunal to start functioning next year.”
Ukraine knows that the defendants will not participate, but this tribunal “will serve to label these people as criminals and prevent them from traveling around the civilized world,” he said.
An international agreement has been prepared
Ukrainian prosecutors have so far identified around 600 suspects in the aggression, including high-ranking military officials, politicians and propagandists.
A draft of the international treaty on the establishment of the tribunal has been prepared, which must be signed by the governments.
Court decisions would then be recognized in the territory of the signatory countries, meaning that all convicted criminals could be arrested there.
Smirnov said several countries should sign the document by the end of the year, and negotiations are ongoing with “several European partners (who) would like to host the tribunal.”
“We want the decisions of this court to be recognized,” he said, adding that he “understands perfectly” that the court needs strong legitimacy.
Despite several reforms, Ukraine’s judiciary has been criticized in the past for its lack of independence and corruption.
Although Poland and the Baltic countries – Ukraine’s closest partners – are very supportive of the proposals, Germany and France are more reserved. This can be explained by political considerations.
“Some countries, recognizing the aggression against Ukraine, are simultaneously trying to preserve a small window for negotiations with Vladimir Putin,” said A. Smirnov.
But even in Western Europe, this idea is slowly gaining support.
On May 19, the European Parliament called for the establishment of a special international tribunal for crimes of aggression.
And at an international conference on war crimes in Ukraine held in The Hague last month, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, speaking about the special court, said the issue was “very valid”.
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