Monday 16 January saw a request by German Foreign Minister Annalena Bock for the establishment of an international tribunal to bring Russia’s leaders to trial in connection with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Baerbock addressed the Academy of International Law in The Hague, where the International Criminal Court is situated. He stated that a tribunal capable of investigating and putting the Russian leadership on trial is needed.
Russia cannot be prosecuted for its aggression against Ukraine in court before the ICC. The court can only handle cases in which the defendant and plaintiff are members of the court, or where a case has been referred to it by the UN Security Council.
Russia is not a member of the ICC. As such, Russia, one five permanent Security Council members with veto-wielding power, would likely block any ICC referral.
Baerbock stated that they had spoken to Ukraine and their partners about the possibility of establishing a special tribunal for crimes committed against Ukraine. Baerbock also suggested that such tribunals could be created from Ukrainian criminal law.
She suggested that it could be supplemented with international elements.
The European Union, Ukraine, and the Netherlands publicly supported the idea of a special tribunal. Russia denies war crimes allegations, calling its actions against Ukraine a “special army operation”. It also denied that civilians were targeted in Ukraine, where hundreds have been killed.
Karim Khan, chief prosecutor at the ICC has warned against legal fragmentation. His court is best suited to trials involving crimes against aggregation because members can close “gaps” which are claimed to exist.
Baerbock later addressed Ukrainian children being deportedfrom Ukraine, and given up to adoption.
While the minister said Russia must answer the whereabouts the children, Wopke Hoekstra (her Dutch counterpart) stated that the children should be brought home and Russia must cease deporting them.
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