Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in The Hague Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in The Hague  (ANSA)

Ukraine’s president seeks war tribunal for Russia

Speaking in the Dutch city of The Hague, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky calls for a war crimes tribunal to prosecute Russia for alleged atrocities.

By Stefan J. Bos

Initially unannounced for security reasons, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the Netherlands on a mission: He visited the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague to lobby for a war tribunal.

Zelensky told the court that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be sentenced for his "criminal actions" in wartorn Ukraine.

“Of course, we all want to see a different Vladimir here [at the ICC] in The Hague, he said in a speech referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting some laughter. “[It is] the one who deserves to be sentenced for this criminal actions right here, the capital of international law. And I am sure we will see that happen when we win [the war], and we will win,” Zelensky stressed.

He also wants a war tribunal to investigate other atrocities related to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

President Zelensky later met the Dutch and Belgian prime ministers in The Hague.

They supported his calls for Justice, and both pledged more military and financial support for Ukraine, with Belgium seeking to use proceeds of roughly $200 billion in seized Russian assets.

Special moment

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte added that Zelensky has come at a particular moment for the Netherlands. “Volodymyr, as you know, your visit to the Netherlands couldn’t have come at a more symbolic moment. Every year on May 4, we remember the victims of the Second World War and all the soldiers who have given their lives since then for peace and freedom worldwide,” he said, referring to an upcoming national two minutes of silence.

“Tomorrow, on the 5th of May, Liberation Day, we are fortunate that we can celebrate that we have been a free country since 1945. And so, after so many years, it’s easy to take leave and freedom for granted. But every day, the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine reminds us that the rule of law is not a given” but has to be defended, he noticed at a news conference.

Rutte also recalled that the Netherlands still suffers from the aftermath of the downing of flight MH 17 over Eastern Ukraine in 2014, which killed all 298 people on board, most of them Dutch citizens.

A lengthy investigation held Russia responsible, charges Moscow denies.

Accusations over drone attack

Moscow on Thursday also accused the United States and Russia of masterminding a drone attack on the Kremlin, which it accused Ukraine of carrying out.

Ukraine's president vehemently denied the claims, and Washington denied involvement in the strike.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report

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04 May 2023, 16:48