Zelenskyy’s appeal for a special tribunal for the crime of aggression

The below is a speech from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as delivered by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak at an event hosted by the US Institute of Peace, the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, and the Ukrainian Embassy to the United States.

Dear friends, I am here on behalf of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to deliver the following messages to you.

Peace is a universal value, and I’m sure that all of you appreciate it. And there is no such person or such a nation that would not dream of it, then someone destroy the peace. But peace, it’s impossible without justice. And justice, it’s impossible without due process of law. That is why it’s indispensable element of the peace formula is the establishment of the special tribunal for the crime of aggression committed by Russia against Ukraine. The crime of aggression is the alpha and omega of the war. To start a criminal and unprovoked war is to open the door to thousands of crimes committed during the hostilities and the occupied territory.

Yes, it is necessary to bring to justice everyone who has committed war crimes. But wanting this is not enough… the hell of aggression… must also be punished. Who gave the order to start this criminal war and who organized the terror? This is what justice is.

That is why Ukraine appeals to you and to the United States of America to support our efforts in establishing the special tribunal for the crime of aggression. Our team will outline the key steps that are needed to make the justice work. And I argue you to support these steps, to support the power of universally recognized international law to become the alpha and omega of a new and long-lasting peace. If we have the due process of law now, justice will bring us the power of peace in the future. I believe that it is possible.

Thank you very much for your attention. Slava Ukraini.

Watch the full event

Further reading

New Atlanticist

Dec 6, 2022

How Ukraine’s proposed special tribunal for Russian aggression would work

By Celeste Kmiotek

A special tribunal on Russian aggression would raise questions around jurisdiction, legal details, and the role of the US. Here’s how they can be addressed.

Conflict Human Rights

Image: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andrii Yermak at the Boryspil International Airport near Kyiv, Ukraine, December 29, 2019. Photo by Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Reuters.