Ukraine’s Zelensky, in The Hague, says Putin must face justice

AMSTERDAM, May 4 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin wants justice for the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in The Hague on Thursday.

“The occupier must feel the full force of justice. This is our historical responsibility,” Zelensky said in a speech.

“There is only one institution capable of responding to the original crime, the crime of aggression: a court. Not some compromise that allows politicians to allegedly prosecute, but a real, really real, full-fledged court.”

An act of aggression is defined by the United Nations as “an invasion or attack by the armed forces of one State against another State or any military aggression”.

The Hague-based ICC, which Zelensky visited the day before, issued an arrest warrant for Putin on suspicion of abducting children from Ukraine.

But it lacks jurisdiction over alleged crimes of aggression, and among other things the European Commission has already thrown its support behind the creation of a separate international center to investigate the crime of aggression in Ukraine. Hack.

“We all want to see a different Vladimir here in The Hague, who deserves to be sanctioned for his crimes in the capital of international law,” Zelensky said of Putin.

“I am sure it will happen when we win, and we will win,” he said, adding: “He who brings war must receive judgment.”

There are important legal and practical questions about how such a court would be legitimized, with the approval of a group of supporting states or the UN General Assembly.

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Russia is not a member of the ICC and has already rejected its jurisdiction. It denies committing atrocities during its conflict with Ukraine, which it calls the “militarization” of its neighbor a “special operation”.

Earlier, on his first official visit to the Netherlands, Zelenskiy visited the ICC for less than an hour.

As he left, Zelenskiy, in his trademark khaki suit, shouted “Slava Ukraine” – or glory to Ukraine – at a Ukrainian family standing outside the ICC building.

The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of Ukraine and Rutte said in February that he did not rule out any military support for Kiev unless it brought NATO into conflict with Russia.

Russia has stepped up attacks as Ukraine prepares for a counter-offensive to retake Russian-occupied territory in the south and east. At least 23 civilians were killed in Russian shelling on the frontline south of Kherson on Wednesday.

Report by Bart Meijer; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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