How and why did the idea of calling for the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate the crimes of aggression against Ukraine come up in the first place? Why was it necessary to call for the establishment of a new International Criminal Court when there is one already in The Hague? Why can the International Criminal Court not investigate Russia for crimes of aggression? Under what conditions could any newly established special court successfully prosecute anyone from the highest echelons of the current Russian regime? What is the broader symbolic significance of taking such initiatives today, initiatives which may not immediately be implemented, but at least bring about a larger public discussion about the role of international law in armed conflict? And how will the quest for justice in the face of clear Russian military aggression help the lives of all those ordinary Ukrainian citizens who have lost their loved ones and their homes during this devastating war? What are the subtle distinctions between crimes of aggression and three other types of crimes, namely: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide?
Guests featured in this episode:
Mykola Gnatovskyy, a renowned Ukrainian legal scholar who was recently elected to serve as judge at the European Court of Human Rights. Before taking up this very prestigious nine-year appointment at the ECHR, Mykola was a professor at the Institute of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He also advised the Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs on international criminal justice, and was a member of the International Expert Board on Crimes Committed during Armed Conflict at the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
From 2015 until 2021, Mykola served three consecutive terms as President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
In March of this 2022, he was one of the original signatories, together with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, calling for the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate Russia for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.