Netherlands ready to host the tribunal on Russia’s war crimes

The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands proposes to hold a Russian Federation tribunal on war crimes against Ukraine on the Dutch territory.

The Netherlands is ready to place on its territory a new tribunal with the support of the United Nations to consider Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

According to him, the competence of the new tribunal will not interfere with the activities of the International Criminal Court, which is also based in the Netherlands. He added that the Netherlands, with the support of the European Union, will seek international help and funding for this court.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in November that a new tribunal with broad international support would be needed to ensure that Russia’s invasion, described as an “act of aggression,” does not go unpunished.

The UN defines an act of aggression as “an invasion or attack by the armed forces of a state on the territory of another state or any military occupation.” Experts note that the ICC’s jurisdiction over aggression extends only to states that have adopted the Rome Statute establishing the court and forms that have agreed to its jurisdiction. Ukraine signed the ICC membership act but did not ratify it. At the same time, Russia is not a court member and has not consented to its authority.

The Netherlands is also home to the UN International Court of Justice and the Special Tribunals for Lebanon and Kosovo. For many years, it also housed the war crimes tribunal committed in the former Yugoslavia.

Who initiated the creation of a special tribunal to investigate war crimes?

We will remind you that Ukraine calls on international partners to create a special tribunal to investigate war crimes. This tribunal can bring to justice the perpetrators of atrocities – the military and the Russian leadership.

The Office of the President of Ukraine explained that the crime of aggression has a unique regime of jurisdiction, separate from other crimes of the Rome Statute, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Countries that are not member states of the International Criminal Court are excluded from the jurisdiction in terms of investigation and prosecution for the crime of aggression, regardless of whether they are the victim of aggression or the aggressor, except in the case of an appeal by the UN Security Council.

Considering that the Russian Federation has the right to veto the decision of the Security Council, such an appeal cannot be implemented, so the International Criminal Court will not have proper jurisdiction in the investigation of the crime of aggression. A special tribunal is needed to investigate Russia’s war against Ukrainians.

Photo: EPA/UPG

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