Ukraine's Nobel laureate wants Putin brought to justice

Ukraine's Nobel laureate wants Putin brought to justice

Nobel Peace Prize 2022 laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk in Olso on Friday: 'We must break the circle of impunity'
Nobel Peace Prize 2022 laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk in Olso on Friday: 'We must break the circle of impunity'

OSLO - The co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Ukraine's Oleksandra Matviichuk, called on Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be brought before an international tribunal.

Speaking to reporters in Oslo on the eve of the Nobel prize award ceremony, the human rights lawyer said she was confident Putin would be tried "sooner or later".

"For decades, (the) Russian military committed war crimes in many countries of the world, and they have never been punished", she said.

"Now, we must break the circle of impunity. We must establish an international tribunal and hold Putin, (Belarus President Alexander) Lukashenko and other war criminals accountable, not only for Ukrainians but for the other nations in the world", she said.

Founded in 2007, the Kyiv-based Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) headed by Matviichuk documents war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

"This war has a genocidal character," she said in English. "If Ukraine stops its resistance, there will be no more of us."

"So I have no doubt that sooner or later Putin will appear before an international court."

The CCL was in October awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with jailed Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski and the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, which Russia's Supreme Court has ordered dissolved.

The trio were honoured for their struggle for "human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine", the Nobel committee said at the time.

They represent the three nations at the centre of the war in Ukraine, which has plunged Europe into its worst security crisis since World War II.

- Putin will stop 'when stopped' -

Seemingly ruling out negotiations, Matviichuk again urged the West to help Ukraine free its territory occupied by Russia, including Crimea.

"Putin will stop when he will be stopped", she stressed.

"Authoritarian leaders ... see any attempt to dialogue as a sign of weakness".

At her side, the chairman of the board of Memorial, Yan Rachinsky, also called for war crimes to be rapidly tried in court -- without specifically referring to those committed in Ukraine.

But he said the International Criminal Court in The Hague was best suited, rather than an ad hoc tribunal preferred by Matviichuk.

"This punishment should come straight away, without any delay, because we have seen a lot of examples when criminals were left unpunished and died safely in their own beds", Rachinsky said.

The existing legal basis is sufficient in order to bring to justice not only "the rank and file perpetrators because they execute orders, but also the masterminds," he said.

The third Nobel laureate, Ales Bialiatski, founder of rights group Viasna, has been detained since July 2020 pending trial following Minsk's crackdown on large-scale protests against the regime.

He faces 12 years in prison.

His wife Natalia Pinchuk, who will accept his Nobel prize on his behalf, said "the issue of Belarus is also being decided on the battlefield of Ukraine".

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (5)

China warns against US House speaker's plan to visit Taiwan

China on Monday warned against a reported plan by US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit Taiwan this spring, urging Washington to abide by the one-China principle and refrain from doing anything that could affect bilateral relations.

21:38

Indonesia to offer 10 oil and gas blocks in 2023, including in S. China Sea

JAKARTA: Indonesia plans to offer 10 oil and gas working areas this year, including a block in the South China Sea, amid efforts to boost energy production and make new discoveries, a senior energy ministry official said on Monday.

20:15

At least 28 killed, scores injured in Pakistan mosque blast

At least 28 people were killed and more than 100 others wounded in a bomb blast at a mosque in a security compound in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. It was the worst such attack in almost 11 months.

19:10