Lithuanian Seimas Declares Russia a Terrorist State

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Lithuanian parliamentarians have called for an international tribunal to prosecute all those involved in Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, May 10, unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes the Russian military invasion of Ukraine as genocide and Russia itself as a state that supports terrorism. “The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania recognizes the full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership, which began in 2022, as genocide of the Ukrainian people,” the document published on the parliament website reads. It also notes that “Russia is a state that supports and commits terrorism,” including because the Russian armed forces “deliberately and systematically select civilian targets for bombing.” Russian genocide against Ukraine Among the crimes to which the Russian army was involved in Ukraine, the Lithuanian deputies named mass murders, including of children, kidnappings, torture, rape, shelling of civilian objects - hospitals, maternity homes, schools and kindergartens, blockade of settlements, obstruction of delivery of humanitarian aid and evacuation of civilians, capture and deliberate destruction of infrastructure essential to meet basic needs of the population. Genocide is also manifested in the “forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian territory in order to destroy their Ukrainian identity,” the resolution said. In addition, Russia destroyed Ukrainian museums, historical monuments, books in the Ukrainian language and introduced Russian-language education in the occupied territories “in the hope of eradicating the cultural, historical and linguistic features of the Ukrainian people,” the document said. Call for genocide to be investigated internationally The Seimas deputies also called on the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and governments of other states “to recognize and prosecute genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian Federation.” To that end, the resolution said, a special international criminal tribunal should be created, which should not be limited to immunity for heads and representatives of other countries and should have the right to issue international arrest warrants. “The Sejm is of the opinion that justice will be achieved only if the Russian leaders and other major and immediate criminals are brought to justice,” the MPs concluded. Investigation of possible Russian war crimes The investigation of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine is being handled primarily by Ukraine itself as the state where they were committed. The country's attorney general's office says it is already investigating about 5,000 war crimes and that there are nearly 600 suspects, including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, as well as other high-ranking officials and commanders. Ukraine is assisted in the investigation by forensic experts and criminologists from European states. More than 10 EU states have launched their own investigations, including Germany, France, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. At the global level, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is also investigating. It has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan opened the investigation on March 2, and his staff is also already working in Ukraine. DW