The European Parliament on Thursday, Jan. 19, called for a special tribunal to be set up that could try Russian President Vladimir Putin for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The non-binding resolution -- backed by a large majority of lawmakers -- said there was an "urgent need" for the EU and its member states to push for the establishment of the court.

It said the tribunal should have jurisdiction to investigate not only Putin and Russia's leadership, but also Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for aiding Moscow.

Kyiv is pushing the international community to set up a tribunal that could more easily target the top Russian officials over the war on Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the move by the parliament and called "on all our partners to support such a tribunal".


"Russia must be held accountable for its war of aggression and justice must prevail," the Ukrainian leader wrote on Twitter.

Kyiv says a special tribunal is needed to overcome the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) -- which has opened an investigation into the conflict -- cannot prosecute Russia for the crime of aggression.

The EU executive floated a proposal for a specialized tribunal to target the leadership in Moscow in November, but so far there is no consensus within the bloc on its establishment.

Germany on Monday became the latest member state to support calls for a tribunal.

The EU's justice commissioner Didier Reynders said this week that Brussels was in discussions about establishing an international prosecution office as a step towards setting up the tribunal.

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For the European Union and Ukraine to start negotiations, the executive, led by von der Leyen, must draw up a framework for the talks, which must be approved by all 27 EU member states.


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