U.N. General Assembly to Vote On Resolution Calling For ‘Investigations, Prosecutions’ against Russia

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The United Nations Headquarters in New York

NEW YORK — As the United Nations marks one year since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the General Assembly is expected to vote on a draft resolution that refers to “appropriate, fair and independent investigations and prosecutions” for the first time, regarding Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

The U.N. General Assembly has adopted five resolutions on Ukraine but none of them included a call for “investigations and prosecutions.”

The final draft of the latest resolution obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun states that the General Assembly “emphasizes the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed on the territory of Ukraine through appropriate, fair and independent investigations and prosecutions at the national and international level, and ensure justice for all victims and the prevention of future crimes.”

Although the General Assembly resolution is not legally binding, Ukraine hopes it strengthens the country’s pursuit of justice against Russia over alleged war crimes.

The draft was to be submitted during an emergency special session of the General Assembly on Wednesday and Thursday under the names of more than 50 countries, including Japan, European countries and the United States. The resolution is expected to be adopted on Thursday afternoon.

The draft resolution also calls for an immediate cessation of attacks on critical infrastructure and civilian sites including residences, schools and hospitals; the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Russian forces; the complete exchange of prisoners of war and the return of all internees and civilians forcibly transferred and deported.

The past five resolutions have all been adopted with a majority of votes in favor. A March resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops was adopted by 141 countries.

Countries that proposed the draft, including Japan, want to secure about the same number of affirmative votes this time.