Ukraine’s first lady has called for a tribunal, citing rights violations

Ukraine’s first lady has called for a tribunal, citing rights violations

United Nations (AP) – Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska gave a video tour of human rights abuses in the country after Russia’s invasion nearly a year ago, telling a United Nations meeting Wednesday: “We have the right to live freely, to be killed or not. Tortured.”

He shows the devastation in the former frontline town of Bakhmu, which Russia is trying to take over, where shelling is killing civilians and water is scarce; Mass graves of Ukrainians were left behind after the Russian occupiers left the town of Izium; Kramatorsk train station, which was hit by a missile killing 50 and injuring dozens more as they tried to flee the war; and many other examples.

At a meeting on “gross human rights abuses caused by aggression against Ukraine” hosted by the Kiev government, Zelenska also pointed to angry Ukrainian prisoners of war being mistreated, and reports that Russia has received and adopted thousands of children from Ukraine. Some of them by Russian families.

“We are fighting for human rights,” he said virtually. “We are fighting for what unites us, the right to liberty, the right to life, not to be tortured and to live freely.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife insisted that Ukraine’s victory in the war would mean a victory for human rights against “tyranny, torture and destruction”.

He called on the United Nations to set up a special tribunal to try Russia’s crimes of aggression, stressing that “it’s not just us, it’s necessary for all of us.”

“Justice for Ukraine is justice for the whole world,” Zelenska said.

International pressure is growing to establish a special tribunal to try crimes of aggression. The EU legislature passed a non-binding resolution in January calling on the 27-nation bloc to “work in close cooperation with Ukraine to find and build political support in the UN General Assembly and other international forums… for the creation of a special tribunal against Ukraine.” for the crime of aggression.”

The International Criminal Court, which is mandated to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has opened an investigation into crimes committed in Ukraine. But it has no jurisdiction to prosecute Russian leaders for aggression.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wapke Hoeksta told the meeting that Russian crime continues to rise a year after the February 24, 2022 attack, “pointing to child abductions, sexual violence, torture, shelling of schools, hospitals and homes, the destruction of entire neighborhoods.” “

He said the Netherlands was taking the lead in seeking justice and accountability for the people of Ukraine, which required “watertight proof”.

Hoeksta announced that the Netherlands is sending two more forensic investigation missions to Ukraine to gather evidence and urged all countries party to the International Criminal Court to contribute to the effort.

He said the Netherlands “strongly supports the establishment of an international center for the prosecution of crimes of aggression to collect evidence that can eventually be used to prosecute the Russian leadership.” He said it should be located in The Hague, the Dutch city that is home to the ICC and the International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court.

“We must do everything we can to prevent further injustice,” Hoeksta said. “There can never be peace in a world where crime and brute force prevail over justice.”

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