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Ukraine asks the US to support a court to try the Kremlin for war crimes


Kyiv has asked the United States to help it create a tribunal to investigate and try Russian leaders for war crimes committed in Ukraine since the war began more than nine months ago.

“Peace is impossible without justice. And justice is impossible without the judiciary,” the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said in a message to the White House on Wednesday. “To start a criminal and unprovoked war is to open the door to thousands of crimes of various levels committed during the hostilities and in the occupied territory.”

In a discussion held by the US Institute of Peace and the Atlantic Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s right-hand man argued that it is not enough to investigate and prosecute individual war crimes.

A woman walks among destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Yermak said that the Russian leadership has a “head[ed] hell of aggression” by ordering the war in Ukraine from the start and must therefore take responsibility for the atrocities committed.

“Ukraine calls on you and the United States of America to support our efforts to establish a special court for the crime of Russian aggression,” he told a discussion attended by officials from US think tanks, senior Ukrainian leaders and US representatives Bill Keating. D-Mass., and Joe Wilson, RS.C.

Fox News Digital could not immediately reach the State Department for comment on the US position when it comes to holding the Kremlin directly accountable for crimes committed by its troops.

Ukraine’s appeal to Washington comes just a week after the European Union backed the initiative to create a special court.

Details of what the court would look like remain unclear, although reports last month suggested the EU has proposed the creation of an international treaty or hybrid court based on a national legal system encompassing international judges.

A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a highway in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 21.

A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a highway in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 21.
(REUTERS/Chingis Kondarov)

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The EU argued that it is important to establish a UN-backed tribunal despite thousands of investigations into alleged war crimes by Western nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC), as not all nations, including the US and Russia, recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Although the US has a complex relationship with the ICC and does not recognize its authority over US citizens, Beth Van Schaack, ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, said earlier this week that the US can still help the court .

“In the midst of all this activity on the Court, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a much-needed reset of America’s relationship with the ICC,” he said. “Although the United States signed the Rome Statute, we are not a full party to it. However, there is much we can do, and have done, to advance the work of the Court.”

Body bags are seen during exhumation in the newly reclaimed area of ​​Izium, Ukraine, Friday, September 16, 2022. Ukrainian authorities discovered a mass burial site near the reclaimed city of Izium containing hundreds of graves.

Body bags are seen during exhumation in the newly reclaimed area of ​​Izium, Ukraine, Friday, September 16, 2022. Ukrainian authorities discovered a mass burial site near the reclaimed city of Izium containing hundreds of graves.
(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

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Van Schaack said the United States will continue to work with the court to help apprehend the Russian perpetrators responsible for crimes in Ukraine.

The United States said it can also help with witness protection and joint investigative efforts on international crimes.



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