UBA calls on G7 to facilitate the establishment of the Special Tribunal in the first half of 2024

The Ukrainian Bar Association has appealed to the G7 Ambassadors Support Group to Ukraine with a call to facilitate the establishment of the Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine in the first half of 2024. A corresponding letter to the ambassadors of Italy, Germany, Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the EU Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine has been addressed by Mykola Stetsenko, UBA President.

In the letter, Mr. Stetsenko emphasized that since the very first days of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian and international legal communities have been urging the establishment of the Special Tribunal so that to fill the gap in the international accountability mechanisms and to ensure full comprehensive accountability for the crime of aggression.

The UBA President reminded that in the course of the last two years, the efforts on establishment of the Special Tribunal were supported by the key international institutions, such as the European Union, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, as well as multiple states of the world. In parallel, the Special Tribunal was backed by leading legal international associations, e.g. the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association (1, 2), the New York State Bar Association, and others. It goes without saying that the UBA made the relevant statement as well.

At the same time, Mr. Stetsenko stated with regret that, despite such popular support to the Special Tribunal — and clear provisions of international law that criminalise the crime of aggression against UN members states — it is very unfortunate that the Special Tribunal has not been established yet.

"Ukrainian legal community is concerned with the delay in establishing the Special Tribunal and lack of consensus among Ukraine’s closest partners in this respect... We are acutely aware that the longer it takes for the international community to create the Special Tribunal, the higher the chances for the Russian leadership to avoid accountability. In view of a number of political developments expected in the world in 2024, we fear that further delays in adopting a principle decision on the establishment of the Special Tribunal will lead to the loss of momentum," the UBA President notes in the letter.

In view of the above, the Ukrainian Bar Association calls on G7 to:

1. Facilitate the establishment of the Special Tribunal in the first half of 2024. "The United Nations — as the world’s primary organisation tasked with maintaining international peace and security — is best suited for mandating the Special Tribunal and giving broad support for its establishment. At the same time, if the UN-backed Tribunal is not possible, we call on G7 states to establish a Multinational Tribunal based on an agreement with the Government of Ukraine," the letter says.

2. Initiate amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to bring the procedure on prosecuting the crime of aggression in line with the procedures envisaged for other core international crimes, as suggested by Parliamentarians for Global Action.

In turn, the Ukrainian Bar Association stands ready to provide any support that the Ukrainian legal community might offer in this process.

You can read the text of the letter at this link.

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