In February 2014, the Russian Federation committed an act of armed aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the launch of the war in Donetsk and Luhansk oblast of Ukraine blatantly violated the fundamental principle of international peace and security, namely the prohibition of the use of force against sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of another state and the right of states to freely determine their own path of development.
On February 24th, 2022, the Russian Federation launched a new stage of aggression, a full-scale aggressive war against Ukraine. In his speeches before and during the invasion, the Russian President outlined his motives in detail. He publicly denied Ukraine and the people of Ukraine their right to exist, which points at the inhuman ideology in which the crime of aggression of the Russian Federation is rooted.
In the course of aggression, the Russian Armed Forces have committed and continue to commit multiple war crimes against the civilian population, as well as crimes against humanity. These include indiscriminate artillery shelling, air bombardment and missile strikes on residential areas of Ukrainian cities, kindergartens, orphanages, shelling of nuclear power plants, shelling and destruction of critical infrastructure objects. All of those and other crimes are being thoroughly documented, laying the groundwork for further probes of international and Ukrainian justice.
Together with partners, Ukraine has initiated a number of legal international proceedings aimed at bringing perpetrators of those crimes to justice. In particular, such proceedings are unfolding in the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court on Human Rights.
These cases focus on particular violations and crimes committed in the course of aggression. At the same time, none of them would be possible without the principal crime: the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
Taking into account the fact that such unprovoked aggression is unprecedented in over 80 years and the fact that there are no relevant international legal mechanisms to hold the Russian Federation accountable for such a grave crime, I supported the initiative by the international scholar community to create a special Tribunal aimed at delivering justice for the crime of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. A coalition of states will take part in its creation. Meanwhile, Ukraine is working on collecting all the necessary evidence related to the crime of aggression, and we are grateful to our partners for their readiness to support our efforts.
Last century has seen the creation of a similar mechanism of international justice. In January 1942 in London, representatives of nine states signed a declaration which later laid the foundation for the Nuremberg tribunal.
I am grateful to leading experts in international law, who developed the draft Declaration and Statement calling to create such a special Tribunal to hold the Russian leadership accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Ukraine fully supports this initiative and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already begun working on its implementation.
Let me underline that this effort is not meant to replace, but rather complement the existing international proceedings on various war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course of Russian aggression against Ukraine, which are underway in the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the European Court for Human Rights.
I am confident that with joint efforts we will be successful in holding the Russian Federation and its leadership accountable for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.