President of Ukraine

Office of Ukraine's President presents two acceptable ways of creating tribunal against Russian leaders

10 February 2023 - 19:15

Office of Ukraine's President presents two acceptable ways of creating tribunal against Russian leaders

At a meeting with French journalists, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Andriy Smyrnov spoke about the most desirable ways for Ukraine to create an international tribunal.

"The whole civilized world watched the crimes of aggression committed by Russia for many years. In 2008, they began aggression against Georgia. In 2014, they occupied Crimea and part of Donbas. Each time, the Russian army entered neighboring states," Smyrnov said.

But, as he emphasized, the Russian leadership has never been punished for aggression, despite the fact that it is an internationally recognized crime.

"We asked ourselves how to make the world wake up and condemn Russia for waging aggressive wars. And they understood that it would be impossible to act through the UN Security Council since Russia has the right to veto there. It is also impossible to get the crime of aggression examined by the International Criminal Court because Russia has not ratified the Rome Statute," the deputy head of the President's Office said.

According to Smyrnov, the only legitimate and legally correct way to solve the problem will be the creation of a special international tribunal as a multilateral international treaty.

"After choosing this model, we began to convince the world of the need to adopt it. We received four decisions from the European Parliament, six decisions from the PACE, and many decisions from the parliaments of countries, including the French parliament, supporting our project. In January, we launched the work of the core group, which included 20 states studying a possible model of the tribunal," Smyrnov said.

Based on the results of practical discussions with Ukraine's allies and other countries of the civilized world, three models of the establishment and operation of the tribunal have been prepared today. The first is the creation of a tribunal based on Ukraine's agreement with the United Nations with the adoption of the relevant resolution of the UN General Assembly. The second is the creation of a tribunal based on a multilateral open international agreement between the states of the civilized world. The third is the creation of a special tribunal as a court that will function on the Ukrainian law and Ukrainian jurisdiction basis (that is, it will be part of the judicial system of Ukraine) with the involvement of an international element in its creation and activity (international judges and prosecutors, location in Europe, international support).

"In short, the first two options are acceptable and will really demonstrate the readiness of the world to make the aggressor answer for what it has done. The third, hybrid option, contains the risks of narrowing the legal assessment of ongoing aggression to the level of "interstate conflict." The world needs the widest territorially international institution of responsibility for aggression with the highest level of legitimacy and recognition. It is how we will remove all other controversial issues, in particular regarding the personal and functional immunities of the officials of the aggressor country," Smyrnov said.