Finland state

Foreign Minister Joly in Finland as calls grow for Russian war crimes trial

After visiting the city of Bucha, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said genocide had taken place and called for tougher sanctions against Russia.

Joly said Canada would provide additional funds to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Russia’s conduct since its invasion of Ukraine.

She said Canada would impose new sanctions on Russians and Belarusians and that she planned to follow up with G7 partners, saying this group of major democracies needed to do more to isolate Russia.

“These are clearly war crimes,” she said. “These are clearly crimes against humanity. And it is important that Canada plays its part in ensuring that these acts are held accountable, and these acts cannot go unpunished.

Canada has sent half a dozen RCMP officers to The Hague to assist the ICC, and Joly and Haavisto said it was important that evidence collection begin soon. It was unclear what role, if any, the Canadian contingent would play, as they now work under the authority of the ICC prosecutor’s office.

“First of all, it is very important to understand that war also has rules. And the rules are set by the Geneva Conventions. And if you break these rules, you are committing war crimes. And that’s what seems to have happened in Bucha,” Haavisto said.

Federal New Democrats are expected to table a motion in Parliament on Monday calling for unanimous condemnation of the Russian action in Bucha, where mass graves were discovered.

“Three hundred bodies, many of them women and children, have been found, which confirms that crimes against humanity and war crimes are being committed by the Russian Federation,” said the NDP spokesperson. on foreign affairs, Heather McPherson, in a press release.

“In addition to the unconscionable killings of civilians, there are also reports of sexual violence against women and children by the Russian military. These heinous acts demand action. Vladimir Putin and the Russian military must not be allowed to get away with this.

US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a butcher, but refrained from calling the situation a genocide.

In Helsinki, Joly also reaffirmed Canada’s support for Finland’s entry into NATO’s 30-nation military alliance.

She also visited the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and also sought to strengthen cooperation in the Arctic. Finland and Canada are among the eight countries of the Arctic Council, and Russia was the chair. But after the invasion, the remaining members said they were taking a break from the work of the council due to Russia’s actions.

“We want to make sure we have a multilateral approach, as the Arctic Council is not meeting at this stage. Because it is for us to maintain our sovereignty and to ensure that our territory is protected,” said Joly.

She said she also had talks scheduled with the other member countries of the Arctic Council, the United States, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 4, 2022.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press