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President's Office: 36 countries in Core Group on Special Tribunal for Russian crime of aggression

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 5, 2023 11:45 PM 2 min read
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Ukraine's Presidential Office deputy head Ihor Zhovkva said on May 5 that 36 countries had already joined the Core Group on the Special Tribunal for the Russian crime of aggression.

"And this number literally grows every day, every week," the official said on national television, as cited by Ukrinform news outlet.

According to Zhovkva, not only European and Euro-Atlantic countries have joined the coalition aimed at creating a special international tribunal to judge Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine, specifically the crime of aggression.

"This group already includes two Latin American countries — Guatemala and Costa Rica. And we will expand it to other continents," he added.

The official's remarks come amid reports that some Western countries, including the U.S., favor a hybrid tribunal to punish Russian war crimes in Ukraine, which could involve the creation of an internationalized court within Ukraine's judicial system.

President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the idea during his speech to the Hague on May 4, saying the world "should not refer to the shortcomings of the current international law but make bold decisions" that would correct them to receive "full" justice.

In February 2023, Jennifer Trahan, a professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, expressed concern that a tribunal lacking full international scope could impede prosecuting individuals responsible for war crimes in Ukraine.

Trahan cited multiple factors to support her concern, including the weight of judgments issued by an international tribunal compared to a non-international one. Additionally, she noted that Ukraine's Criminal Code imposes relatively lenient sentences of seven to 15 years for crimes of aggression.

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