Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak emphasized the importance of establishing a Special International Tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine to hold to account the Russian leadership and all criminals, as well as the accession of the countries of the world, in particular the EU, to this process. He stated this during an online speech at the opening of the discussion program of the Ukraine is You project in Davos.
The Head of the Office of the President also called on the partners to join the development and application of mechanisms that would allow confiscating Russian assets to compensate for the damages caused by the war.
“No victory is complete without restoration of justice. That means the guilty must be punished, and the damages they have caused must be compensated. The repetition of crime must be prevented,” Andriy Yermak said.
“In our case, justice is reached through trial of those who committed war crimes,” he added.
According to the Head of the Presidential Office, Ukraine has registered 80 thousand crimes committed by Russian invaders, inter alia, the murder of more than 9 thousand civilians, including 453 children. And these are only the facts that have been established so far.
“Alas, the tragedy scale is much greater. For in nearly every liberated town or village, we find evidence of torture and extrajudicial executions. Innocent people murdered by thousands, hundreds of destroyed settlements and demolished infrastructural objects. Numerous international decisions and resolutions mention them. We will forgive not a single torture or life taken, not a single destroyed home, not a single tear of a Ukrainian child. Each criminal will be held accountable,” Andriy Yermak emphasized.
He reminded that bringing criminals to justice is envisaged by the Ukrainian Peace Formula presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the G19 summit.
The Head of the Office of the President emphasized: it is important not only to bring to justice those who committed a war crime - soldiers who came to the Ukrainian land to kill or missile operators who launched missiles at peaceful cities, but also the top officials who unleashed the war and enabled the crime of aggression.
According to Andriy Yermak, Ukraine knows how to bring to justice all the above-mentioned persons, but the support of the international community is needed in this process.
“To restore international order and unquestionable respect for international law, we need your help. From the darkness the dying empire is dragging the world, together we can get it back to the light. We're making history together. And it depends on your combined efforts how hard and how quickly we can crack down on these inhumans committing the immense atrocities in the 21st century,” the Head of the Presidential Office is convinced.
He emphasized that the UN General Assembly has already recognized Russia as an aggressor state, but a Special International Tribunal is needed to punish the highest political leadership of Russia for the crime of aggression, as the International Criminal Court does not have the relevant jurisdiction. And Ukraine, together with partner states, is doing everything possible to establish such a tribunal, the Head of the President's Office stated.
Another option, according to Andriy Yermak, is for the UN Security Council to qualify Russia's actions as an act of aggression and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. But Russia still has the veto right in the Security Council. So it is high time to deprive the terrorist state of any rights in the UN, as it has repeatedly violated all the international community rules, Andriy Yermak stressed.
According to him, the PACE, the European Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Seimas of Lithuania, the Parliaments of Estonia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Latvia support the initiative to establish the Tribunal. Similar decisions are being made in the USA and Germany. The European Council has started working on the mechanism to establish the Tribunal.
“But now, more than ever, we need the consolidated international support for the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution to establish the Tribunal. We ask all civilized states to join this initiative,” he said.
Equally important, according to the Head of the Presidential Office, is the issue of compensation for the damage caused by the Russian army to Ukrainian citizens. He informed that, according to the available data, Russia has destroyed 54 thousand residential buildings, more than 2 thousand educational institutions, 418 hospitals, 316 cultural landmarks, 88 churches, and almost 4 thousand infrastructure objects. The list also includes thousands of industrial enterprises, warehouses, gas stations, shopping malls and other facilities, and this list is constantly growing.
“The UN General Assembly has already agreed on the concept of the compensation mechanism. It provides for the creation of an international register of losses, an international compensation commission, and a compensation fund to be financed primarily with Russian assets including gold and currency reserves. We call on our partners to adopt changes to national legislation to confiscate assets and transfer them to a compensation fund,” Andriy Yermak said.
He also stressed the importance for the G7 countries to join the international agreement on creating the Register of Damages and the Compensation Commission, which Ukraine will propose jointly with the Netherlands.
“We call all civilized nations to stand up for justice. Once again, two things are necessary – the Special International Tribunal and the legislation to compensate for the damages the Russian aggression caused. Liberty is impossible without strong justice. Let's make it work, so that no dictator tries to repeat the invasion of sovereign states. United and strong, we can stop them,” the Head of the Presidential Office summed up.