Zelenskyy tells the UN Russia must be “put on trial” for atrocities

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for Russia’s leaders “to be brought to justice” for committing “the most horrific war crimes” since World War II, when he denounced the UN for failing to prevent the conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking via videoconference at a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president called for “full truth and accountability” for attacks by Russian forces on civilians in Ukrainian cities they have occupied in recent weeks.

“The Russian military and those who gave orders to the criminals must be brought to justice,” Zelensky said, calling for a trial similar to the Nuremberg trials faced by Nazi war criminals.

Zelenskyj, after visiting the town of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv, spoke after reports of a civil massacre which arose after the Russian withdrawal from the Ukrainian capital and the region surrounding it.

He said Bucha was “just one of many examples of what the occupiers have done on our land,” adding that “the world has yet to learn the full truth” about Russia’s actions in other cities since the beginning of the war attacked invasion.

After his remarks, Selensky showed the Security Council a short video with gruesome images of mass graves and civilian casualties in cities like Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, but also in the besieged coastal city of Mariupol. Zelenskyy had warned that Russia was trying to do this discover his crimes to “cover up their guilt.”

“You will make dozens of these [staged] Interviews, reedited footage, and will specifically kill people to make it appear they were killed by someone else,” Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian president used his intervention in the Security Council to blast the body’s ineffectiveness in preventing the Russian attack – and pointed to Moscow’s status as a permanent member with a right of veto over all decisions.

Zelenskyy said that if Russia’s invasion went unpunished, other countries could reasonably assume that they could only “rely on the power of their own weapons to ensure their security, not on international law.”

“Are you ready to shut down the UN?” Zelenskyy asked, adding that if the answer is no, the body should “act immediately” on Russia’s actions. He also argued that Russia might not have dared attack Ukraine at all if there had been violations of international law in Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere in recent years.

“If tyranny had received an answer, it would have ceased to exist,” said Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian president called for a reform of the world’s “security system” to ensure similar attacks don’t happen in the future. However, repeated attempts to overhaul the Security Council in recent decades have failed.

Immediately before Zelensky’s speech, UN Secretary-General António Guterres lamented the “senseless loss of life, the massive devastation of urban centers and the destruction of civilian infrastructure” caused by the war in Ukraine, while calling for an “independent investigation to ensure effective accountability”. . for the atrocities in Bucha.

“The war in Ukraine must stop now. We need serious peace negotiations based on the principles of the United Nations Charter,” Guterres said.

“This council has the task of keeping the peace – in solidarity. I deeply regret the divisions that have prevented the Security Council from acting not only against Ukraine but also against other threats to peace and security around the world,” he added. Zelenskyy tells the UN Russia must be “put on trial” for atrocities

Adam Bradshaw

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