EU Contemplates Trial of Top Russian Officials in 'Specialized Court' for Ukraine War Crimes

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, wants to set up a "specialized court" to prosecute Russia's top officials over the war in Ukraine that has killed thousands and displaced millions from their homes. She said Russia's invasion of Ukraine has brought death, devastation and unspeakable suffering.

The EU chief believes Russia must pay for its horrific crimes, including the crime of aggression against a sovereign state.

"While continuing to support the International Criminal Court, we are proposing to set up a specialized court backed by the United Nations to investigate and prosecute Russia's crime of aggression," Von der Leyen said.

The Tribunal

Word is that the specialized court could be set up as an international tribunal or a hybrid establishment where the substantive laws are based on Ukraine's legal system. However, it will follow international rules.

An EU official outlined that whether it's the ad hoc or the hybrid tribunal, UN-backing is essential. Moreover, Von der Leyen vowed that the EU will work with the international community and will try to get the broadest international support possible for this court.

The Netherlands is willing to establish the specialized court on its territory. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said it is their task as the international community to make sure that we do justice. He said it should be done through the ICC and through other measures as well.

Ukraine War 2022

Russia to be Held Accountable

The European Commission president stressed that Russia must pay reparations for the estimated €600 billion in damage it has caused in Ukraine. "We have the means to make Russia pay," Von der Leyen said. "The €300 billion of Russian Central Bank reserves and the €19 billion of Russian oligarchs' money the European Union has frozen will be used for that cause."

Meanwhile, Britain has introduced a new round of sanctions on Russian officials over the war in Ukraine. It targets those accused of spearheading recent mobilization efforts and the recruitment of criminal mercenaries. Moreover, German lawmakers approved a resolution declaring as genocide the 1930s starvation of millions in Ukraine under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.