Germany calls for special tribunal to prosecute Russians for Ukraine war

Germany on Monday called for a special international tribunal to prosecute Russian leaders for the Ukraine war.

The court should be based abroad but derive its jurisdiction from Ukrainian criminal law, and be able to investigate and try the Russian leadership, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a keynote speech at The Hague Academy of International Law.

Baerbock said she discussed with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba the possibility of setting up such a tribunal along with some partners, public broadcaster ARD reported.

She said it was important for the tribunal to have an “international component.”

“For example, a location outside Ukraine with financial support from partners and with international prosecutors and judges can underpin the impartiality and legitimacy of this court,” she said.

A special institution is “not an ideal solution, not even for me,” said Baerbock.

“But the fact that we need this special solution is because our international law currently has a loophole,” she said, stressing the need to convey a “very clear message to the Russian leadership ... and everyone else in the world that a war of aggression … will not go unpunished.”

At the same time, Baerbock called for a reform of international criminal law to close a glaring legal gap.

The legal basis for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague should be adjusted in the medium term so that the offense of aggressive war can also be prosecuted without restriction, she said.

One of the reasons why this is currently not possible is that neither Russia nor Ukraine are parties to the Rome Statute, which forms the legal basis for the court.

“Putin is trampling on the most elementary principles of international law that bind all peoples,” Baerbock said.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine is also a war against the law.”

The minister said her visit to The Hague was aimed at making clear that “international law is strong, and it is up to all of us to enforce it and strengthen it right now.”

“Cluster bombs dropped on peaceful civilians, torture prisons in dark cellars, the abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children – nothing can justify Russia’s rampage in Ukraine, which is contrary to international law and cruel, or the brutality of the war,” Baerbock said.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan is already investigating the situation in Ukraine, and the probe may cover war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Source: Anadolu Agency