Ukrainian Nobel winner calls for justice for Russian ‘warfare criminals’

OTTIGNIES-LOUVAIN-LA NEUVE: Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian rights activist whose NGO was co-winner of final 12 months’s Nobel Peace Prize, referred to as Thursday for the world to “maintain Russian warfare criminals accountable,” in an interview with AFP.

“We should break the circle of impunity,” she mentioned, urging the United Nations and the European Union to again Kyiv’s name for a particular tribunal capable of choose high Russian officers all the way in which as much as President Vladimir Putin.

Whereas acknowledging that getting a majority of UN member nations behind that aim was a “onerous process,” Matviichuk mentioned it was indispensable for any post-war peace that may observe the top of the battle in her nation.

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“There won’t be sustainable peace with out justice,” she famous.

Her demand got here practically a 12 months after Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which adopted its 2014 annexation of Crimea and assist for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east.

She was talking at Belgium’s College of Louvain simply forward of receiving an honorary doctorate there, alongside Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman and Adelle Blackett, a regulation professor at Canada’s McGill College.

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The trio have been being recognised for the combat for civil rights and a fairer society.

‘Everybody’s rights protected’

The Ukrainian NGO that Matviichuk runs, the Middle for Civil Liberties, final 12 months shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Russian rights organisation Memorial and an imprisoned Belarusian pro-democracy activist, Ales Bialiatski.

Matviichuk’s Middle for Civil Liberties, based in 2007, has campaigned for rule of regulation and democracy in Ukraine.

That wrestle has solely turn into tougher with Russia’s army offensive, but it surely has not been forgotten, she mentioned – on the contrary, the values the NGO campaigns on are central to Ukraine’s efforts to someday be part of the European Union.

“We’ve got two primary duties: to outlive and to withstand, and to proceed our democratic path,” Matviichuk mentioned.

“We’re nonetheless a nation in transit, and we are able to’t focus vitality solely on this reforming path – we’ve in parallel the warfare with Russia.

“However after the large-scale invasion began, we nonetheless don’t have any luxurious to pay attention solely on one aim, we’ve to combat for our survival. And we’ve to maneuver on to affix to European Union,” she mentioned.

Ukraine’s ambition to turn into an EU member state might take a few years, EU officers say, although some EU neighbours of Ukraine are lobbying for a sooner timeline.

Turning into a part of the European Union means turning into a part of the “European civilisation house,” Matviichuk mentioned.

Becoming a member of the EU would imply “we may have an opportunity to construct our nation the place the rights of all people are protected,” she mentioned.