Keating Among Lawmakers Pushing for Creation of Tribunal to Prosecute Russia

HYANNIS – Congressman Bill Keating and other lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that calls for the creation of an international tribunal that would punish Russia for crimes against Ukraine. 

He says that with more attacks on civilians as well as vital infrastructure, the international community must hold Russia accountable. 

He added that the war violates the UN Charter, of which Russia is a member. 

The full statement from the office of Representative Keating can be found below.

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Bill Keating (D-MA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Jim McGovern (D-MA) reintroduced legislation calling on President Biden to support the establishment of an international tribunal for the punishment of the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

Since February of last year, the Russian Federation, led by Vladimir Putin, has waged an unprovoked, full-scale invasion against Ukraine. Ukrainians deserve justice for the crime of aggression and the United States must lead the international community in holding accountable those Russian officials responsible for the brutal war being waged against Ukraine. As the latest barrage of missile strikes from the Russian Federation rains on civilians and critical infrastructure, the immediate need to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine has become only more apparent. As such, this resolution aims to provide the Biden administration with the mandate necessary to lead support for establishing a Special Tribunal for the punishment of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine.

“It is up to the international community to pursue all legal avenues to hold the Russian officials waging a barbaric war against Ukraine accountable,” said the lawmakers. “Vladimir Putin and his warlords are not only an enemy of Ukraine but a threat to the international order, a threat that requires a legitimate international body to hold them to account. Not since the Second World War has the international community held such a war tribunal, but unfortunately, the acts of aggression that have been committed in Ukraine require that we do so again. We have faith that the Ukrainian people will prevail and that when this war ends, international legal institutions will rise to the occasion, holding aggressors responsible for their actions.”

The crime of aggression is protected against in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. The Charter states “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Further, General Assembly Resolution 3314 defines aggression as: the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations…” Some examples of aggression that the General Assembly Resolution 3314 has provided are: 

(a) The invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State, or any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from such invasion or attack, or any annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof,

(b) Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State;

(c) The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State;

(d) An attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State;

(e) The use of armed forces of one State which are within the territory of another State with the agreement of the receiving State, in contravention of the conditions provided for in the agreement or any extension of their presence in such territory beyond the termination of the agreement;

(f) The action of a State in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State;

(g) The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.

Most tribunals related to the crime of aggression took place between November 1945 and November 1949. For the crime of aggression, no one has been prosecuted before or since.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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