Vilnius hosting discussion on holding Putin accountable for war crimes

  • 2022-05-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Vilnius is hosting on Friday a discussion on how to ensure that the leaders of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, are held individually criminally responsible for war crimes in Ukraine. 

The topics of discussion at the international conference include "why a conviction for a crime of aggression is vital for the survival of the international community and the possibility of persecution for this crime" and "legal mechanisms in the context of Russian aggression", the Lithuanian Justice Ministry has said. 

Participants will also discuss whether there is room for the establishment of a special tribunal, what role the International Criminal Court could play, and the prospects for national investigations launched into the crime of aggression in Ukraine, it said. 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are to deliver speeches remotely. In-person participants include Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader, and others. 

After Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania initiated an appeal to the Hague Tribunal's prosecutor to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia and Belarus.

Lithuania became the first country to initiate the Hague Process under the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. The initiative has been joined by other countries in Europe and worldwide.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office has opened a pre-trial investigation into an alleged crime of aggression committed by the Russian and Belarusian regimes against Ukraine. 

The Justice Ministry also proposes to establish a special tribunal in the European Union to ensure that the Russian and Belarusian leaders are held criminally responsible for the aggression in Ukraine.