Ruling party MP proposes Russia’s own international tribunal for war criminals

RIA Novosti / Irina Gerashchenko
Russia needs to establish its own international court for war crimes as the existing body in The Hague depends on the nations that sponsor the war crimes in Ukraine, a Russian lawmaker said.

What hope can we feel toward the people and nations that at the same time are patrons and puppeteers of The Hague tribunal and the regime of military criminals,” MP Vyacheslav Nikonov of ruling party United Russia told fellow lawmakers at Tuesday’s session of the State Duma.

For this reason I think that we must found our own tribunal that would deal with war crimes,” he added.

We will not forget and we will not forgive,” Nikonov said.

The MP stated that the conflict in the neighboring country had already claimed thousands of lives and many of the victims were children, women and elderly people. He added that the Kiev authorities have so far failed to investigate both the shooting on Maidan that claimed the lives of the “Heavenly Hundred” and the attacks on Odessa’s Trade Unions House that killed dozens of anti-Maidan protesters.

In May 2014, soon after the tragedy in Odessa, MP Leonid Slutskiy of the nationalist party LDPR said that the CIS – the Russia-led economic and political bloc uniting many of the former Soviet republics – could set up a criminal court of its own in order to judge on everything that took place in Ukraine.

Representatives of the so called Kiev authorities who have ordered a punitive operation in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, and who turn a blind eye at the massacre in Odessa, must be tried and convicted as war criminal,” Slutskiy told the press.

Also in May 2014, Russia’s Public Chamber initiated a petition aimed at bringing the current Kiev authorities to account for creating the conditions that led to the events in Odessa, and other human rights violations in Ukraine. The petition has gathered thousands of signatures from supporters in Russia, Ukraine and all over the world.

READ MORE: Russia seeks international PACE group to probe crimes against humanity

In November 2014, Russia proposed that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe launch an international inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in Europe, such as the tragedy in Odessa and the mass executions of civilians near Ukraine’s Donetsk. State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin reiterated the suggestion at the meeting with members of PACE’s Presidential Committee in Moscow.

In mid-January Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights, Igor Trunov, said that the International Criminal Court in The Hague had accepted the lawsuit against Ukrainian officials. Russian NGO Moscow Red Cross accused pro-Kiev forces of killing and enslavement of civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential districts and using hunger as a lever against residents of the southeastern regions of Ukraine.

Russia’s top law enforcement agency, the Investigative Committee, has launched several criminal cases against pro-Kiev politicians on charges of using banned methods of warfare and committing genocide of ethnic Russians. The suspects in the case include Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and the governor of the Dnepropetrovsk Region, Igor Kolomoyskiy.