MOSCOW (AP) — A representative of one the organizations sharing this year’s Nobel Peace Prize said Friday that she thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin must face an international tribunal for the fighting in Ukraine.
Oleksandra Matviychuk of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said during a news conference in Oslo, Norway, that “We must establish an international tribunal to hold Putin, (Belarusian President Alexander) Lukashenko and other war criminals accountable.”
In October, the Ukrainian group was named a co-winner of the 2022 peace price along with Russian human rights group Memorial and Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian human rights group Viasna.
Bialiatski is jailed in Belarus and was unable to travel to receive the prize, which is due to be formally presented on Saturday.
Matviychuk called the conflict in Ukraine is “genocidal” and said “if Ukraine stops resistance, there will be no more us.”
She also dismissed suggestions of negotiations to end the conflict.
Russia “sees any attempt at dialogue as a sign of weakness,” she said.
The triple peace prize was seen as a strong rebuke to Putin, not only for Russia’s actions in Ukraine but for the Kremlin’s crackdown on domestic opposition and its close ties with the authoritarian Lukashenko, who brutally suppressed protests in 2020 that erupted after a presidential election widely regarded as manipulated.
Russia’s Supreme Court shut down Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent human rights organizations, in December 2021.
Memorial was acclaimed for its studies of political repression in the Soviet Union. The Russian government declared the organization as a “foreign agent” in 2016 — a label that implies additional government scrutiny and carries strong pejorative connotations that can discredit the targeted organization.
Yn Rachinsky of Memorial said during the Oslo news conference he was not worried about his own security amid the crackdown but “the situation of human rights defenders, unfortunately, is very bad today in Russia.
“Many have been imprisoned for a long time. Some are being persecuted today. And this is unlikely to improve quickly. But, nevertheless, there are people who continue this work and will continue,” he said.
Bialiatski was not allowed to send a speech for the awards ceremony. But his wife, Natalia Pinchuk, planned to deliver an address on his behalf.