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Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize winner calls for Putin war crimes tribunal

Javad Parsa/NTB Scanpix via AP
Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties, arrives at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, Norway, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was shared by jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the laureates “have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.” The prize was seen as a strong rebuke to the authoritarian rule of Putin.

Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Oleksandra Matviichuk called for a special international tribunal to put Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military leaders on trial for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Matviichuk, who has documented around 27,000 war crimes in Ukraine, told Yahoo News that world leaders “cannot wait” to establish such an organization to hold Putin to account.

“We don’t need revenge. We need justice,” she said in an interview published Wednesday. “I’ve asked myself, ‘For whom did we document all these crimes? Who will provide justice for the hundreds of thousands of victims?’”

Matviichuk, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, is set to be honored in Oslo, Norway, this weekend along with a human rights group in Russia and a jailed activist in Belarus, who all shared the Nobel Peace Prize this year. The Belarusian winner’s wife will receive the award on his behalf.

The Center for Civil Liberties, founded in 2007 and based in Kyiv, has worked extensively to document war crimes in Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine, as well as the forced relocation of Ukrainians to Russia.

Matviichuk spoke with Yahoo while in Washington, D.C., to receive an honorary award from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University along with other Ukrainian women, including Olena Zelenska.

Matviichuk said the International Court of Justice was incapable of holding Putin accountable and called for a special tribunal similar to the Nuremberg trials to put Nazi leaders on trial after World War II.

“Putin will stop only when he will be stopped,” she said. “Because if we will not be able to stop Putin in Ukraine, he will go further.”

Matviichuk argued the Russian leader “sees civilized dialogue as a sign of weakness.”

“It’s a question of how to physically arrest Vladimir Putin,” she said. “But look to history. There are a lot of successful and very convincing examples, when people who see themselves as untouchable suddenly appeared in court.”

Tags Hillary Clinton Norway Oleksandra Matviichuk Oslo Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin War crimes tribunal
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