Speech of George Katrougalos in the Debate under urgent procedure: Legal and human rights aspects of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.(Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 26-01-2023)


Dear Colleagues,

Recently, the President of our Assembly suggested to me to read again the preamble of the Statutes of our organisation. There, I found this remarkable phrase that it is very pertinent to what we are discussing. I quote: “Peace based upon justice and international cooperation is vital for the preservation of human society and civilisation”.

Exactly for this reason, because peace, and justice, and international co‑operation cannot be dissociated, we remain very skeptical for the establishment of an ad-hoc tribunal which could undermine the moral authority and the legal jurisdiction of the ICC.

I remind you that after the amendments of Kampala of 2010, aggression is the fourth core crime that the ICC can have under its jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, we have only 44 ratifications for this agreement. The United Kingdom has not ratified. Neither has France nor my own country, Greece.

This is butter to the bread of the Russian propaganda, that the invasion is not a violation of international legality, but just an incident, of the quarrel, of the dispute between the West and Russia.

I suggest that we push our countries for the ratification of the Kampala agreement. Try to find through the General Assembly of the United Nations a way that the procedural issues that remain should be overcome.

The second point of my intervention, dear colleagues, is the other thing that our Statute reminds us of: peace.

I’m not at all a proponent of the cynical realism in international relations, but I found very interesting the Kissinger’s recent article in The Spectator. You must have read it. It is entitled “How to avoid another world war”. Among analogies between the current situation and the situation in the First World War, which could have ended in 1916, he suggests that it is time for a negotiated peace in Ukraine. Also, I quote, he warns “against of dreams of breaking up Russia which could unleash nuclear chaos”.

The European institutions or the European countries should also proceed with initiatives for peace. Peace, of course, by respecting the Ukrainian sovereign rights fully, because peace and justice can’t be dissociated.

Thank you.