Zelensky visits war crimes court in the Hague and says Putin must face justice

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, paid a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Thursday. The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, in March for the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine.

Russia, which does not recognize the ICC’s authority and is not a member, disputes accusations that it engaged in atrocities in its war with Ukraine, which it refers to as a “special military operation.”

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, president of Ukraine, said on Thursday in The Hague that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be held accountable for his war in Ukraine and called for the establishment of a war crimes court separate from the International Criminal Court.

“The aggressor must feel the full power of justice. This is our historical responsibility,” Zelensky said in a speech.

“Only one institution is capable of responding to the original crime, the crime of aggression: a tribunal. Not some compromise that will allow politicians to say that the case is allegedly done, but a true, really true, full-fledged tribunal.”

Since Russia’s invasion in 2022, the Ukrainian president has traveled to a number of foreign capitals, including Washington, London, and Paris.

Rutte stated in February that he had not ruled out providing any type of military assistance to Kyiv as long as doing so would not put NATO at odds with Russia. The Netherlands has been a reliable ally of Ukraine.

Zelensky, who earlier in the day spoke with Dutch legislators, will also meet with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, announced in February that The Hague will become the international hub for the prosecution of the war crime in Ukraine.

While the ICC can bring charges for genocide in Ukraine, it lacks jurisdiction over any alleged Russian aggression crimes committed there.

According to the United Nations, an act of aggression is defined as “any military occupation or invasion of the territory of another state by the armed forces of a state.”

Photo: Getty Images

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