Ahead of EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, foreign ministers of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia issued a joint statement on Monday, Oct.17, calling on the European Union, together with international partners, to help Ukraine establish a Special Tribunal to probe Russia’s crimes of aggression against the neighboring country.

That’s according to a tweet by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, seen by Ukrinform.

“With my Latvian and Estonian colleagues called for a Special Tribunal on Russia. As a geopolitical Union, the EU could take the lead in founding it and help fill in the loophole in international jurisdiction. Russia’s war crimes are so immense that ICC alone cannot handle it,” said Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.

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“This tribunal would investigate the crime of aggression and would fill in the existing jurisdictional loophole, and would ensure Russia’s accountability against Ukraine,” reads the joint statement by the three top diplomats.

“The rules-based international order, which we all strive to defend, cannot survive if there is impunity for the deeds that violate it most blatantly – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crime of aggression,” the three ministers state. “Recent deliberate targeting of civilian homes, schools and playgrounds, as well as civilian infrastructures across Ukraine is just the latest episode of Russia’s unprovoked terror campaign against Ukrainian people. As Russia‘s brutal assault against Ukraine continues, the EU must act to ensure that seeking justice and accountability for Russia‘s horrific crimes in Ukraine is at the center of our policy.”

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They note that currently, there is no international court or tribunal that could bring Russia’s top political and military leadership to account for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Therefore, they believe, a Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine has to be established “to fill this jurisdictional loophole,” while the EU together with its partners “must be at the center of this effort.”

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The establishment of the Special Tribunal would complement the role of the ICC, the three ministers believe. “While the ICC would prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, the Special Tribunal’s core responsibility would be the crime of aggression,” they stress.

“The key masterminds, instigators and facilitators of this murderous aggression cannot escape justice simply because of the gap in the international criminal jurisdiction,” the joint statement concludes.

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