Zelenskyy in The Hague Criticises Idea of "Hybrid" Tribunal for Russian Crime of Aggression

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, called for the creation of a full-fledged international tribunal to prosecute the Russian crime of aggression and criticised one of the suggested formats, the so-called hybrid tribunal during his speech in the Hague.

Zelenskyy stressed that the crime of aggression is the primary crime committed by Russia, and it is only possible to hold those who committed it accountable if the tribunal is created.

"The beginning of the aggressive war is a crime different from other crimes because it contains in itself all evil of all other crimes. We must transform the experience of the Nuremberg Trials…So we call for the creation of such a tribunal. We want to continue the tradition of punishment for the crime of aggression in order to guarantee that it will never be repeated.

If we want justice we must not seek excuses and refer to the downsides of the existing international law. Instead we must make brave decisions that will correct these downsides. This is what the initiators of the Nuremberg process did, and this is what we have to do now… We must not be scared – the aggressor must feel justice, directed against him, to the fullest. This is our historical responsibility," Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy stressed that he is expecting a full-fledged tribunal for the top leadership of Russia, criticising the idea of the so-called hybrid tribunal.

"Ukrainian courts will bring justice, prosecuting most of the crimes committed by the Russian occupiers. I am very grateful to the International Criminal Court and the whole team working with it to facilitate justice. But only one institution is able to react to the crime of aggression – a tribunal. A tribunal, not something hybrid that will only allow to formally ‘close the case’. Not a compromise, which would allow the politicians to say that the issue is allegedly solved. There must be a real, full-fledged tribunal. And real, full-fledged justice," Zelenskyy stressed.

In his speech Zelenskyy also remarked that everyone probably "want to see the other Vladimir here", hinting at Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier, the media reported that Brussels and the G7 countries tend to believe that the most realistic perspective of prosecuting those guilty of the crime of aggression against Ukraine will be a "hybrid tribunal", which would merge the national jurisdiction of Ukraine and the process based on international law with judges from other countries.

Kyiv does not support the idea of a "hybrid tribunal" for Putin.

Anton Korynevych, Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, told in an interview for European Pravda that the decision concerning what the tribunal against the Russian crime of aggression will look like has not been made yet.

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