Ursula von der Leyen in Estonia: Russian war crimes tribunal needed

Ursula von der Leyen and Kaja Kallas in Tallinn on October 10.
Ursula von der Leyen and Kaja Kallas in Tallinn on October 10. Source: Raul Mee / riigikantselei

Both European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) say the support the setting-up of an international court which would be tasked with investigating war crimes committed by the Russian Federation in its invasion of Ukraine.

Kallas also said that the EU should take a lead role in the court's formation.

Speaking at a press conference at the Stenbock House Monday morning, von der Leyen, who is on an official visit to Estonia, said: "Yes, we strongly support international tribunals for war crimes, it has to be brought before the law."

"From the very beginning we have supported Ukraine in collecting the evidence, which is very important, and of course to lay the case before the international criminal court and support the investigation, and are on a regular basis going to Ukraine."

"It is of utmost importance that those who are responsible for these crimes are held accountable; this is the basis of our rule of law and the international rule of law," she went on.

Kaja Kallas said: "Yes, we were discussing that [at the earlier meeting between the pair] as well; there are war crimes and then there are crimes of aggression, and before prosecuting the crimes of aggression which need an international tribunal. So the question is which organization is putting up the international tribunal, and I see that the EU could be the embodiment [of this], and of course other countries can join."

"The war crimes are committed in Ukraine, and the crimes of aggression are the crimes of really attacking another country and therefore I think the EU should have a leading role in putting together this international tribunal," the prime minister went on.

After the press conference, von der Leyen traveled across town to Kadriorg to meet with President Alar Karis, and then to attend the annual Tallinn Digital Summit, also taking place Monday and live-linked by ERR News.

The European Commission President will then travel to the eastern border town of Narva.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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