‘We’d like to see a different Volodymyr here,’ Ukraine’s president says in The Hague

04.05.2023, 12:50
‘We’d like to see a different Volodymyr here,’ Ukraine’s president says in The Hague - Photo
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine speaks in The Hague, a video grab

The perpetrators of Russia's aggression against Ukraine should be tried by a full-fledged international tribunal, and not a ‘hybrid’ one, Ukraine’s president said at the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Thursday.

Joking that "we’d like to see a different Volodymyr here," meaning Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, who is wanted by the ICC, Mr Zelenskyy said that all those who had started wars of aggression in the past believed that they would never have to answer for their crimes against humanity.

"Thoughts of aggression arise in the minds of those who are accustomed to impunity, and it is impunity that opens the door to aggression," he stressed.

However, the modern world is arranged in such a way that there should be no more impunity for aggressors, Ukraine’s president added, and they should all be held accountable before an international court.

In a speech, Mr Zelenskyy defended the establishment of a full-fledged international tribunal instead of a ‘hybrid’ one – which is propounded by some of Ukraine’s allies as more realistic but will not ensure full international conviction of the perpetrators of aggression.

"We cannot allow someone's 'hybrid immunity' or 'hybrid peace' on the frontline, we need full justice in all its power, not any of its 'hybrid' forms," he explained.

Mr Zelenskyy also recalled Russia's other war crimes, in particular the downing of passenger flight MH17 over the Donbas in 2014, which the Dutch court has already found Russia responsible for.

Ukraine’s president arrived with an official visit to the Netherlands earlier on Thursday, and was expected to meet the Dutch king and the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Belgium.

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