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Ukraine calls for the creation of a special court on the crime of aggression

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has officially requested the support of the G7 countries and the Council of Europe for the creation of a special tribunal to try the” assault “ of Ukraine by Russia, in a letter dated 13 May. “This is the first official request from the Ukrainian government”, confirmed by telephone Anton Korynevych, adviser to President Zelensky; I’” assault “ qualifies a crime which consists in “plan, prepare and launch” an attack on another state.

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, kyiv has opened a legal front against Moscow, using all possible levers to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes, from the simple soldier to the head of the Kremlin, even to the State. Russian himself. Three cases are pending before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), responsible for settling conflicts between States. The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation on March 2 against senior officials, Russian or Ukrainian, for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”. The European Court of Human Rights is seized of numerous cases of violations. The justices of at least eleven countries of the European Union have opened files. And, on the front line of this legal battle, Ukrainian justice is investigating and judging. Despite this arsenal, kyiv is calling for a new international tribunal.

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Because if Ukraine can judge the perpetrators of the crime of aggression, it cannot prosecute Vladimir Putin, who enjoys the immunity of heads of state. As for the ICC, it can legally indict the Russian president, but not for this crime. She “does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression”, recalls Mykola Gnatovsky, professor of law at the University of kyiv.

As one of the promoters of the project, the international lawyer Philippe Sands spoke of a new court in Nuremberg. Nazi leaders were convicted there for “crimes against peace”, in other words “aggression”, after the Second World War. In the battle of memories, the very creation of such a court would be a victory, at least in the short term, believes Ukraine. “It’s a very important historical analogy, explains Mr. Korynevych. Even if future arrest warrants are not executed the same day or within a month, it will be very important to say that such and such a person is the author of a crime against peace, and to delegitimize them. » And for this, Ukraine is even ready to delegate [sa] jurisdiction to a special tribunal regarding the crime of aggression”, explains the Ukrainian adviser.

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