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EU top justice official: Special tribunal for Russia's war in Ukraine may be created by end of year

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 5, 2024 11:13 PM 2 min read
EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders at the press conference on measures against misleading environmental claims and the right to repair in Brussels, Belgium on March 22.(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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An international special tribunal to hold Russia accountable for war crimes committed in Ukraine may be created by the end of this year, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders told Deutsche Welle.

Ukrainian officials have documented thousands of war crimes committed by Russian forces, including deliberate attacks on civilians, attacks on cultural sites or medical institutions, torture, and deportations.

The Prosecutor General's Office reported on March 18 that Ukraine had collected pretrial information on over 128,000 victims of war crimes.

A political declaration, published by the Restoring Justice for Ukraine conference on April 2 and signed by 44 countries, condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine and advocates for the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute Russian crimes.

"We are discussing this tribunal with various international actors," Reynders said in a comment for Deutsche Welle on the sidelines of the conference, which was held in the Netherlands.

Ukraine’s fight to bring Russian leadership to justice puts legal systems to ultimate test
In pursuit of justice for Russia’s many war crimes, Ukraine is actively seeking the establishment of an international tribunal. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has already launched investigations into alleged Russian war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Ukraine. However, the…

"Two main options are now being considered — an international tribunal based on a multilateral agreement or a simplified solution based on a bilateral agreement between Ukraine and the Council of Europe."

Reynders believes that the creation of the tribunal is at the last stage, according to Deutsche Welle's article published on April 5.

"The next step is a matter of political will. Now is just the beginning of the year, and by the end of the year, this should become possible," he said.

The declaration also called on Russia to pay compensatory damages for crimes inflicted on Ukrainians and supported exploring the use of frozen Russian assets to pay these damages.

According to the document, the Netherlands extended conditional offers to host both the tribunal and a compensation mechanism.

EU top justice official: We aren’t waiting for war’s end to prosecute Russian crimes
As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on, the European Union’s top justice official says the EU and its partners want to bring all perpetrators of international crimes to justice. “Not only war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, but also the crime of aggression,” European Commissioner f…
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