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Double Standards: Ukraine Wants a Tribunal For Russia - Risks Falling Under One Itself

The Revolution Report

Nov 28, 2022

In early October, a group of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine submitted to parliament a draft appeal to the UN, the European Union and the Council of Europe, with a request to establish an international tribunal to investigate "Russia's aggression against Ukraine." Several days later, the appeal was adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament. Although Ukraine's leadership is appealing to the provisions of the International Criminal Court, it did not recognize its jurisdiction for fear of being held responsible for war crimes committed in Donbass.

RELATED: Ukraine Continues its Terrorist Attacks Against Russia and the Donbass

On October 3, 2022, a group of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada headed by Alexander Kachura, one of Vladimir Zelensky's closest associates and a member of his Servant of the People faction, introduced bill No. 8094 on the adoption of a "Resolution on the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the UN, parliaments and governments of its member states, the European Union, the Council of Europe on the creation of a special the International Tribunal for Criminal Aggression against Ukraine." On October 7, the resolution was adopted by 283 votes of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and signed by its chairman three days later.

The resolution notes that "the creation of a special tribunal is necessary, since there is no perfect mechanism yet that could judge the highest political and military leadership of Russia for committing crimes of aggression against Ukraine." Kiev has already prepared lists of suspects.

Thus, the document states that "in the main case on the aggression of the Russian Federation, 626 suspects are representatives of the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation." These are ministers, deputies, military commanders, officials, heads of law enforcement agencies, "warmongers and propagandists of the Kremlin," Ukrainian politicians claimed.

Evasive justifications

In the text of the appeal, in addition to the general points concerning the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada to all possible international bodies, there are several contradictory provisions. As justification for the creation of a new "tribunal," the resolution states that "the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction to consider cases of aggression against Ukraine."

However, later in the operative part of the resolution, it is already stated that when creating a "tribunal...the definition of the crime of aggression enshrined in customary international law, in article 8-bis of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, will be applied".

To understand the reason for this ambivalent position on ICC jurisdiction in Ukraine, it is necessary to refer to another bill adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 20 of this year - Draft Law No. 7728 "On Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine regarding the improvement of cooperation with the International Criminal Court in Conducting Procedural Actions on the Territory of Ukraine."

The amendments to the National Code of Criminal Procedure signed by President Zelensky do not contain an obligation to ratify the Rome Statute, which regulates the activities of the International Criminal Court. Ukraine signed the international treaty on the establishment of the ICC on January 20, 2000, but has yet to ratify it. The statute's rules specify that without ratification, the state does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court in criminal cases - except for the condition when it submits a proper application.

Justified concerns

The reluctance of Ukraine's leadership to join the ICC is likely due to a fear of investigating the involvement of the political leadership of this country in war crimes, according to Nikita Mendkovich, chairman of the Eurasian Analytical Club, in an interview with RT. He recalled that in a recent report of the UN Human Rights Council, the commission's established facts concerning war crimes by Ukraine's military, i.e. the summary executions of captured Russian servicemen, were recognized.

"Ukraine's war crimes against the civilian population of the Donbass republics lasted for eight years and became one of the reasons for the special military operation," Mendkovich said. "Ukraine's leadership is afraid that their boomerang will fly back and they themselves will be held accountable. This applies to both the current President Zelensky and the previous one, Poroshenko. Therefore, they shy away from ratifying the Rome Statute of the ICC, and any potentially dangerous international jurisdictions for them."

Mendkovich believes that the inclusion of a paragraph on alleged sexual violence committed by Russian troops in the preamble of the Verkhovna Rada's appeal is purely for propaganda purposes. He recalled the dismissal of Ukraine's Human Rights Chief, Lyudmila Denisova, who "lied so much about fake 'rapes' that the Verkhovna Rada itself had to deprive her of her powers."

"Now this topic is being actively used in the falsification of recent history, as idiotic stuffing by Western media about the issuance of 'rapist kits' with Viagra to Russian soldiers. All this has one goal — to create a demonized image of Russia. And then justify any crimes and any violence against our country," he stressed.

Earlier, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Maxim Buyakevich, said that in Ukraine, in the regions controlled by Kiev, "terrorist acts planned, committed and prepared for commission by Ukrainian special services, as well as mass killings of civilians" are recorded. At the same time, the leadership of the OSCE and other international humanitarian organizations ignore these crimes.

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