(The Hague) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Thursday from The Hague for the creation of a special international tribunal for the crime of aggression, calling for “large-scale justice” and not “hybrid impunity”.
“There should be accountability” for this crime of aggression, the “beginning of evil,” Zelensky said during a speech to diplomats and other officials in The Hague, referring to the invasion of his country by Russia.
“This can only be applied by the court”, he added, after a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which sits in the Dutch city.
However, he rejected the idea of a “hybrid” court being considered by other states.
“The law must function fully to ensure justice,” Zelensky added, rejecting the idea of ”hybrid impunity.”
In March, the United States declared itself in favor of the creation of a special tribunal to try Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, with international funds and personnel, but “rooted in the Ukrainian judicial system”.
The ICC, created in 2002 to try the worst atrocities committed in the world, does not have the power to try crimes of aggression against Russia, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.
The court issued an arrest warrant in March against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children in the context of the conflict.
Mr. Zelensky, who paid an unannounced visit to The Hague, spoke during a “ No peace without justice for Ukraine ” speech in the presence of Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra.
The Dutchman welcomed the president’s presence on Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, “ for those who lost their lives in World War II”, and on the eve of Liberation Day.
Dressed in his usual green clothes, flanked by several members of his team wearing combat gear, the Ukrainian president was before the speech welcomed at the headquarters of the ICC by the president of the jurisdiction, Piotr Hofmański, and other officials of high rank.
“ It’s so exciting to see it! I hope he will go inside and tell them that this war must stop,” 12-year-old Zlata told AFP, who came to court with two other members of her Ukrainian family, while one of loved ones wiped tears from her cheeks.
The Netherlands has supported Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022.
“ We are in the same boat ”, underlined Mr. Hoekstra, pledging this support “ until you celebrate your own Liberation Day ”.
A meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is also scheduled.