Zelensky’s Office denies media reports of Ukraine agreeing to “hybrid tribunal” for Russia

Zelensky’s Office denies media reports of Ukraine agreeing to “hybrid tribunal” for Russia

The Office of the Ukrainian President denied the reports circulated by a number of media outlets that Ukraine had allegedly agreed to a hybrid tribunal to hold Russian authorities accountable for the crime of aggression.

That’s according to the Deputy Head of the Office, Andriy Smirnov, who addressed the issue via Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

According to the senior official, “yesterday, out of the blue, the news emerged claiming that ‘the Ukrainian authorities admitted they would not be able to secure support for the format of the tribunal they had proposed on the resolution of the UN General Assembly, instead agreeing to a slightly modified format of the so-called hybrid tribunal.’”

On Monday, Smirnov recalled, a large international conference was held on the issue of creating a special international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

Read also: Two options of creating special tribunal for Russia being considered - Kostin

As the deputy head of the Presidential Office recalled, one of the key theses voiced at the conference was: the main, most legitimate, and truly authoritative model for Ukraine remains an international tribunal based on the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution and an agreement between Ukraine and the UN.

"Ukraine promotes this version and will continue to promote it within the framework of the Coordination Group – a coalition of countries that discuss various legal issues, in particular regarding the model of the tribunal's work. Despite the skeptical attitudes of other countries, we believe that this scenario is the swiftest and definitely the most effective tool for enforcing international law," Smirnov emphasized.

Also, he said, Ukraine will not agree to any hybrid format of the tribunal, where its creation is seen as part of the Ukrainian judicial system.

"There are more than enough reasons: in addition to the need to amend the Constitution of Ukraine, which is impossible during martial law, the risk of narrowing the legal assessment of the crime of aggression to the level of an armed conflict between two countries is obvious. The crime of aggression committed by the Russian top political and military leadership against Ukraine is a crime against the entire civilized world. We don't need the tribunal's verdict in the name of Ukraine – we need it in the name of the civilized world," Smirnov stressed.

Read also: Special Tribunal could punish Belarus leadership for participating in war – Korynevych

According to the official, "it is natural that various options and variants arise during the discussions. One of them is the option of an internationalized tribunal that is created in another country with a trustworthy legal system, with a subsequent vote in the UN General Assembly in support of the established internationalized tribunal."

The next meetings of the Core Group are scheduled for September as discussions are ongoing, noted the deputy head of the Office.

"We really want the international tribunal to launch its work and become operational as early as possible for its decisions to lift the long-weary doctrine of international law from its knees. We want accountability for the crime of aggression," Smirnov emphasized.

Instead, "as a thank you for objectively informing the public about the successes and difficulties in this process, we receive headlines from mass media: 'The government has admitted that it will not be able to... according to the journalists’ version, and that an internationalized tribunal will be created in The Hague..." Smirnov noted.

He also quoted Winston Churchill: "It is better to be making the news than taking it.”

As reported, the coalition (Core Group) for the creation of the Special Tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine includes representatives of 38 states and several representatives of international organizations, which have already held a number of working meetings.

Ukraine, together with its partners, is promoting the creation of a Special Tribunal to prosecute the Russian leadership.

The creation of the tribunal was supported by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and individual states.

On August 21, at the international conference Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. Justice must be served, held in Kyiv, the Deputy Head of the President’s Office, Andriy Smirnov, stated that Ukraine and its partners continue to discuss three possible models of creating a tribunal, but opposes the hybrid one, which proposes to introduce this mechanism into the Ukrainian judicial system.

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