Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Smyrnov and Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anton Korynevych held a meeting with the ambassadors of 30 countries, during which the project of creating a special tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine was presented.
The special tribunal should have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute Russia's top political and military leadership for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
At the meeting with the ambassadors, Andriy Smyrnov, who, according to the President's decree, is the coordinator of the working group on the creation of a special international tribunal, emphasized that Russia and its leadership are responsible for the war in Ukraine that began in 2014.
"Russian soldiers and their commanders who committed war crimes will be brought to justice. The crime of aggression is often called the "mother of all crimes" - the highest international crime. We are talking specifically about the President and other top officials of the Russian Federation, in particular the members of the National Security Council, who authorized military aggression against Ukraine," said the Deputy Head of the Office of the President.
Over the past six months, Ukrainian law enforcement officers and international partners have registered and are investigating tens of thousands of criminal cases related to Russia's war against Ukraine. Among them are hundreds of criminal proceedings in partner countries, but none of them is for the crime of aggression, the main crime from which other war crimes and crimes against humanity are derived.
However, as Andriy Smyrnov pointed out, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which investigates the crimes of the Russian military in Ukraine, can prosecute for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. But it is quite difficult to establish a legal connection between specific crimes and the instructions of the Russian authorities, therefore it is important to prove the direct guilt of the President of the Russian Federation and other political leaders.
"Since the first day of the invasion - February 24 - we have been searching for an answer to the question of how to bring to justice those who unleashed aggression against Ukraine. We considered all available mechanisms, including UN resolutions, held consultations with the most famous international lawyers from around the world, and came to the conclusion that a special international tribunal should be established to hold to account for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, and the mandate of this tribunal will be limited exclusively to the investigation of the crime of aggression against Ukraine," said the Deputy Head of the President's Office.
According to him, the leadership of Russia must be held accountable for the crime of aggression in order to prevent future wars unleashed at the will of certain dictators. So this is a strategic necessity.
"Any evil must be punished, and international law, among other things, has a preventive function - prevention of unacceptable behavior and actions," Andriy Smyrnov stressed.
He called on international partners to support Ukraine in establishing a special international tribunal.
"We want to create it with all the countries willing to give a legal assessment to the barbaric and cruel military policy of the Russian President and his regime. We really hope that, while Ukraine is fighting day and night for its right to exist, international law will also work," said Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anton Korynevych.
Last week, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed Decree № 661/2022, by which he established a working group on the creation of a special international tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The head of the working group is Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak, and the coordinator is his deputy Andriy Smyrnov.