Peace is not possible without justice. Justice is impossible without the responsibility of those who perpetrated this aggression. This was emphasised by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the conference “Special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Justice to be served”, which took place in Kyiv on 21 August.
“Since the first days of the full-scale war, we have been talking about retribution and justice as part of our victory. That is why justice is one of the key points of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula,” the Head of Government said.
According to the Prime Minister, more than 136,000 crimes committed by russia have been recorded since February 2022. During this time, about 11,000 civilians have been killed, including more than 500 children. At least 20,000 more children have been abducted and forcibly taken to russia by the occupiers. russia has also destroyed more than 116,000 civilian infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.
“Together we must create a legal mechanism of justice and accountability that includes all criminals. Those who gave the orders and those who carried them out. First and foremost, we need a Special International Tribunal to try the highest political leadership of russia for the crime of aggression. Today we are still discussing models for the creation of such a tribunal. But no one doubts that it will work,” said Denys Shmyhal.
The Prime Minister added that the core group for the establishment of the tribunal already included 38 countries. On 2 July, the Interim Prosecutor’s Office was opened in The Hague, which is directly collecting facts for the trial of the crime of aggression.
“Another important and key position for Ukraine is that russia must pay. Pay for all the damage and losses it has caused to our people. Pay for the restoration of our state. We have proposed to the world the concept of an International Compensation Mechanism. It should consist of a register of losses, a compensation commission and a compensation fund,” said Denys Shmyhal.
The first element has already been established by a UN General Assembly resolution. Forty-two countries and the European Union have signed up to the international register of losses.
The Prime Minister stressed that the money for compensation should come from russian frozen and confiscated assets. It is important for Ukraine that its partners provide the means in their legislation to transfer these funds as soon as possible: “The Ukrainian economy and infrastructure must definitely be restored at the expense of the aggressor.”
Denys Shmyhal noted that joint efforts should create a precedent for judicial punishment of the perpetrators and a precedent for paying for the restoration: “The world will be safer if we draw the right conclusions from russian aggression.”