Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be brought to justice for his war in Ukraine. Zelensky was addressing The Hague during a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for a new international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression.
During his visit, Zelensky spoke of the respect for Ukraine that he felt in The Hague, from those who valued freedom and do not tolerate tyranny. He was thankful to be present in the Netherlands, a land he said believes in and upholds ideals of freedom and justice.
Commenting on Putin, Zelenski stressed, “We all want to see Vladimir here, in the Hague, the one who deserves to be sentenced for these criminal actions [ …] and I am sure we will see that happen when we win. And we will win.”
These comments followed the issuing of an arrest warrant for Putin by the ICC in March, which is based on allegations that he committed war crimes by having children deported from Ukraine.
Speaking on the importance of holding Putin to account, Zelensky noted that “If you look at any war of aggression in history, they all have one thing in common, the perpetrators of the war didn’t believe that they would have to stand to answer for what they did […] for war”.
Zelensky was received by ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmański, who briefed Zelenskyy on the ICC’s current work. According to an ICC press release, Hofmański emphasised the court’s independence and impartiality and thanked Ukraine for its cooperation with the court, notably the recent agreement allowing for the creation of an ICC office in Ukraine.
In response, President Zelenskyy expressed “appreciation for the role of the ICC in providing justice in Ukraine and contributing to the rule of law worldwide.”