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Russia abducts, tries to illegally adopt at least 11,000 Ukrainian children

Ukraine calls on the international community to assist in holding the aggressor accountable.

Russia abducts, tries to illegally adopt at least 11,000 Ukrainian children
Deporting children and adults from Mariupol.

At least 11,000 Ukrainian children were abducted by the occupiers and taken to Russia. There, Russians are trying to illegally adopt them.

During the full-scale war, the enemy also destroyed 45 thousand of houses and tens of thousands of civilian infrastructure objects. In particular, 1.5 thousand institutions for children were destroyed, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Smyrnov said during the discussion "Criminal prosecution for the crime of aggression committed in Ukraine" in Washington.

"The atrocities recorded by our forensic experts are shocking. I don't even want to tell you all the horror we see when we exhume the bodies of abused, tortured and then killed civilians, women and children. And we find such terrible findings every time we liberate a new settlement. Neither international conventions nor even the customs of war matter for the aggressor. They do not know how to fight well, they know how to sow bloody terror. And it must be stopped. Once and for all. In the name of all innocent Ukrainians killed and in the name of global security in the world," he called.

Smyrnov stressed that there are several perpetrators of these crimes. On the one hand, there is the perpetrator, a Russian soldier who came to Ukrainian soil to kill, or the operator of the Russian missile launcher. And on the other - those people who committed the key, original crime - the crime of aggression.

Ukraine needs help to bring them to justice. Smyrnov believes that the only effective mechanism to bring to justice those responsible for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine is establishing a special international tribunal.

The Deputy Head of the Presidential Office explained that the crime of aggression has a unique jurisdictional regime, separate from other crimes of the Rome Statute, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Countries that are not states-parties to the International Criminal Court are excluded from the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the crime of aggression, regardless of whether they are the victim of aggression or the aggressor unless the UN Security Council requests it.

Given that the Russian Federation has the right to veto the decision of the Security Council, such an appeal cannot be implemented, so the International Criminal Court will not have proper jurisdiction to investigate the crime of aggression.

Smyrnov added that during all the months of the war, the ICC hasn't registered any proceedings on the crime of aggression. There is a risk that the crime of aggression remains unpunished. And even if Ukraine quickly ratifies the Rome Statute, Russia will never do it. And therefore, it will make it impossible to conduct such an investigation within the mandate of the International Criminal Court.

Smyrnov stressed that the entire civilised world must unite to take all possible measures to restore and maintain global peace and security. The establishment of a special international tribunal to investigate the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine would be an important step forward towards ending impunity.

In October, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the establishment of a Special Tribunal to investigate the crimes of the Russian occupational forces in Ukraine. He stressed that it is necessary to punish those who cannot be reached by the International Criminal Court and all other existing judicial institutions of the world.

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