Ukraine’s first lady to deliver speech to US Congress

23,000 war crimes are under investigation in Ukraine.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, WASHINGTON – Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, will deliver a speech to the US Congress. The office of Speaker of Parliament Nancy Pelosi said: Zelenska will address lawmakers on Wednesday (7/20/2022), at 11 a.m. local time, in the Congressional Auditorium at the US Capitol Visitor Center.

“All members of the House of Representatives and Senate are invited to attend,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement. Anadolu AgencyTuesday (19/7/2022).

The statement comes as Russia continues to push its offensive in the eastern region of Donbass Ukraine in the hope of conquering the industrial heart of the Eastern European country. According to the United Nations, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed and more than 6,500 injured in Ukraine since Russia launched the war on February 24. Meanwhile, more than 15 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including more than 8.4 million who have fled to other countries.

A total of 45 countries have agreed to cooperate in investigating the allegations war crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine. They promised to coordinate international efforts to bring Russian military forces to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

On Thursday (14/7/2022), 45 countries signed political declarations during a conference at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Signatories include member states of the European Union as well as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

The group has pledged to provide 20 million euros to help the ICC and support the prosecutor’s office in Ukraine. The funds are also used to support UN efforts to investigate war crimes.

According to officials, around 23,000 war crimes are being investigated and various countries are leading investigative teams in Ukraine. This investigation requires credible and organized evidence.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Netherlands would consider establishing a Ukrainian international war crimes tribunal. Because neither Ukraine nor Russia are members of the ICC.

Russia withdrew its support for the ICC in 2016. Russia withdrew after the ICC called Moscow’s 2014 seizure and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula an armed conflict. However, Kyiv accepted the Court’s jurisdiction and paved the way for the ICC to open an investigation in Ukraine in early March.

“We have to fill a void and the ICC has no jurisdiction, so I can imagine we would create such a tribunal,” Hoekstra said.

President Zelenskyy has urged an international audience in the Netherlands to set up a special tribunal to deal with alleged Russian war crimes. “The current judicial system cannot bring all the culprits to justice. Therefore, a special court is needed to deal with crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine,” he said.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in war crimes and has deliberately attacked civilians since invading Ukraine. Ukraine claims that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. But Moscow denies any responsibility.

Robert Butler

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