The Office of the President of Ukraine expects the final format of the tribunal for Russia’s political leadership will be proposed in September at the meeting of the coordination group in The Hague.

“We want specific, finalized decisions so that the entire civilized world receives an appropriate punishment mechanism for committing the crime of aggression,” Deputy Head of the Office of the President, Andriy Smyrnov, said at the International Conference “Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine.”

According to him, three different models of an international tribunal for Russia are currently being considered. Ukraine insists on the model of creating a tribunal with the help of a decision of the UN General Assembly, which would have authority and legitimacy. 

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But international partners – the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France – are in favor of a hybrid option – a court that will work within the framework of the Ukrainian judicial system.

Smyrnov stated that Ukraine is categorically against such a model. First, such a court requires changes to the constitution and this cannot be done during martial law.

Secondly, this format reduces the large-scale war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine to the level of an interstate conflict between two countries.

“And thirdly, we do not need a decision of the tribunal in the name of Ukraine, we need a decision in the name of the entire civilized world,” he said, adding: “International partners are afraid of the possible creation of a precedent, which in the future would lead to revisions and audits of various military campaigns in which partner countries participated.”

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Despite this, several compromise options of the tribunal are being considered, but at the moment they have not been announced as deliberations continue.

One of them is the creation of a tribunal as part of the judicial system of another European country that has a stable and developed legal system.

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The Office of the President hopes that the format of the tribunal will be agreed upon by the end of the year.

Nobel Peace Laureate and public activist Oleksandra Matviychuk, who also participated in the conference, called on the world to do everything so that “Putin and the higher political and military command of the Russian Federation bear responsibility for their crimes” against Ukraine.

She does not support the hybrid option of the tribunal. “There is no other legally reliable option, except for the creation of a special tribunal outside the Ukrainian legal system,” Matviychuk said. “And if the way to create such a tribunal based on a decision of the UN Security Council is blocked, because Russia is there, then we need to work on decisions to create such a tribunal based on decisions of the General Assembly or the Council of Europe.”

The special international tribunal would be a trial for the crime of aggression perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine. The highest levels of Russian political leadership would stand accused – 20 top officials of the Kremlin, including President Vladimir Putin and members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, who made decisions about the war against Ukraine, as well as commanders of the Russian armed forces.

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