The European Parliament voted today in favor of establishing an international tribunal to investigate Russia’s war crimes in its war of aggression waged in Ukraine.
In a resolution, the Members of European Parliament asked the bloc and its individual member states to create a “special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine,” accusing Putin’s regime of violating international law.
The MEPs added that the court would “focus on alleged genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.”
“The EU’s preparatory work on the special tribunal should begin without delay,” the resolution said.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky thanked the European Parliament members for the resolution.
“Russia must be held accountable,” Zelensky tweeted.
Some media reports from a few months ago suggested that the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) could start reviewing cases of alleged Russian crimes in Ukraine in late 2022 or early 2023.
A creation of a special UN-backed court to probe Russia’s “horrific crimes” in Ukraine was also suggested by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Russia has vehemently denied allegations of war crimes committed in Ukraine in the past and has also claimed that any international court would have no legal power over it.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry declared that “the current attempt by Western countries to whip up a quasi-judicial mechanism is unprecedented in its legal nihilism and is yet another example of the West’s practice of double standards.”
According to Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, an international tribunal tasked with prosecuting Russia would be rejected by Moscow as “illegitimate” and that the West has no legal right to establish it.
Ukraine said in the past that peace can only be achieved if Russia faces an international court. Moscow has rejected this demand as “unacceptable.”
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, and Russian troops and para-military gangs have since been accused of killing civilians in Bucha, near Kiev, and other areas.
Putin’s regime claims that its forces only strike “military targets” and has insisted that “allegations of atrocities” were fabricated.