Meanwhile, the European Union has proposed to set up a United Nations-backed court to investigate possible war crimes Russia has committed in Ukraine, and to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild the war-torn country.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message that the EU will work with international partners to get “the broadest international support possible” for the court, while continuing to support the International Criminal Court.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, his military forces have been accused of abuses ranging from killings in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha to deadly attacks on civilian facilities, including the March 16 bombing of a theater in Mariupol that an Associated Press investigation established likely killed close to 600 people.
Investigations of military crimes committed during the war in Ukraine are underway around Europe, and the Hague-based International Criminal Court has already launched a probe.
But because Russia does not accept the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction, the European Commission said it presented to the 27 EU countries two options to hold the Kremlin accountable: Either a “special independent international court based on a multilateral treaty, or a specialized court integrated in a national justice system with international judges — a hybrid court.”
Earlier this week, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska urged Ukraine’s invaders to be held accountable.
“Victory is not the only thing we need. We need justice,” she told lawmakers in London, comparing Russian war crimes to the atrocities Nazi Germany committed in World War II.