Zelensky insists on creation of special court for Russia's 'crime of aggression'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that a special tribunal must be created to hold Russia to account for its "crime of aggression".
"There should be responsibility for this crime. And this can only be enforced by the tribunal," he told diplomats and officials at the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for Russia's Vladimir Putin over a war crime charge.
"Only one Russian crime led to all of these crimes: this is the crime of aggression, the start of evil, the primary crime. There should be responsibility for this crime," he said in his speech.
"That's why we insist on the tribunal creation."
Zelensky arrives in The Hague, apparently to address the International Criminal Court. Putin, for all his strongman bravado, wouldn't dare take the same trip. https://t.co/Nz4tTHi7aT— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) May 4, 2023
Kyiv is pressing for a special tribunal to be set up to prosecute Moscow for the crime of aggression because it sees this as a way to achieve faster justice and more easily target the Kremlin's top officials.
The ICC, based in The Hague, is currently probing possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the war on Ukraine but it has no mandate to pursue the broader crime of aggression.
Some of Kyiv's Western backers have said it may be hard to get broad international backing for a one-off tribunal and say a more feasible approach could be to set up a "hybrid" court under Ukrainian law.
But Zelensky rejected the idea of a "hybrid" tribunal.
"(Responsibility) can only be enforced by the tribunal of law which must work in the full to ensure justice, not hybrid promises, not hybrid impunity but full-scale justice," he said.
Russia has repeatedly denied any abuses by its forces.