Baltic foreign ministers want special tribunal for Russian war crimes

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian foreign ministers issued a joint statement ahead of Monday's EU Foreign Affairs Council, calling for the establishment of a special tribunal to punish Russia's crimes of aggression against Ukraine.

"Bringing Russia's aggression and war crimes before an international tribunal must become European Union policy and I plan to raise this issue at the Foreign Affairs Council today," said Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).

"Yesterday, together with my Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues, we made a statement to this effect. Last week, I also sent a similar letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and my EU colleagues," Reinsalu said.

The statement reads: "The rules-based international order, which we all strive to defend, cannot survive if there is impunity for the deeds that violate it most blatantly – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crime of aggression/.../ As Russia's brutal assault against Ukraine continues, the EU must act to ensure that seeking justice and accountability for Russia's horrific crimes in Ukraine is at the center of our policy."

"We must continue supporting the ongoing investigations by Ukraine, a number of other states, as well as the International Criminal Court since it plays a key role in collecting evidential materials, identifying and punishing those responsible for the war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine."

"Our efforts, however, must not end there. Currently there is no international court or tribunal that could bring Russia's top political and military leadership to account for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine."

"A Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine has to be established to fill this jurisdictional loophole. The EU together with our partners must be at the center of this effort.,"

"The establishment of a Special Tribunal would complement the role of the ICC. While the ICC would prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, the Special Tribunal's core responsibility would be the crime of aggression."


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Editor: Michael Cole

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