On Thursday, 19 January, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in support of the creation of an international tribunal to hold accountable all those responsible for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, the Head of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said on Twitter.
“The consequences of Russia's war on Ukraine are huge. Children, women, men murdered. Families split. Hospitals destroyed. Homes demolished. Schools ruined. Today European Parliament calls for an urgent special international tribunal. War criminals must be brought to justice. Now,” she emphasized.
The consequences of Russia's war on Ukraine are huge.— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) January 19, 2023
Children, women, men murdered. Families split. Hospitals destroyed. Homes demolished. Schools ruined.
Today @Europarl_EN calls for an urgent special international tribunal.
War criminals must be brought to justice. Now.
472 deputies voted in favour of the resolution, 19 voted against it, and 33 abstained.
"The European Parliament... emphasizes the need for and urgency of the leadership of the European institutions and member states in establishing a special additional tribunal to condemn the crime of aggression against Ukraine committed by the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation and its allies; considers that such a tribunal should be established on the basis of an international agreement between like-minded countries, with the support of the UN General Assembly," the resolution reads.
These measures will fill a vacuum in international criminal justice, whereas the activities of the newly established tribunal should be based on the principles and standards of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Rome Statute.
European politicians called on the EU and its member states, in cooperation with partners and regional organizations such as the Council of Europe, to form a "coalition of goodwill" to implement international justice and advance in the fight against Russia's impunity for its aggression. In this context, the MPs welcomed the proposal of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to establish a special tribunal to condemn the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
"The European Parliament ... considers that a special tribunal should have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the highest political and military leadership of the Russian Federation; proposes that the special tribunal should investigate and convict the crime of aggression against Ukraine since February 2014, under the definition of the crime of aggression as set out in Article 8 bis of the Rome Statute," the document says.
As stated in the resolution, the special tribunal should complement the efforts of the International Criminal Court and its prosecutor to investigate charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine. This special tribunal should work closely with the ICC and be located in The Hague. The creation of such an international tribunal with the participation of Ukraine, according to the deputies, should begin immediately.
"The European Parliament ... calls on the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission and the European External Action Service, to provide support for the establishment of a temporary Office of the Prosecutor in The Hague and notes that the establishment of such an office would be an important practical step forward towards the investigation and conviction of the crime of aggression against Ukraine by a tribunal to be established in the future," the document says.
In a separate paragraph, the resolution emphasizes the need to investigate and condemn the activities of the "illegitimate leader of Belarus" Aleksandr Lukashenka for allowing the use of his country's territory to commit an act of aggression against a third country, which also qualifies as a crime of aggression under the Rome Statute.
"The European Parliament… strongly believes that the establishment of a special tribunal would send a very clear signal to both Russian society and the international community that President Putin and the Russian leadership at large can be convicted for the crime of aggression in Ukraine…and it will also send a signal to Russia's political and business elite that Russia's return to "business as usual" with the West under Vladimir Putin's leadership is impossible," the resolution says.