Czech foreign minister to UN: The time has come to prove our “raison d'être”

Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavsky addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 21, 2022.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský addressed the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday urging delegates to defend the UN Charter and stop Russia’s colonial war against Ukraine. In an emotive speech to the assembly he said now was the time for the UN to prove its “raison d'être”.  

“This United Nations, its principles, which we established after the Second World War, is in grave danger. One of the presumed gatekeepers of the UN Charter, one of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council – Russia – is attacking a sovereign neighboring democracy and wreaking havoc in Eastern Europe and the entire world. If we continue to allow a new colonial war then why are we here?”

Jan Lipavský said Russia’s unjustifiable and unprovoked war against Ukraine is not only a blatant violation of the UN Charter –it badly damages the global economy and the food security of many countries. He stressed that it was up to the UN and each and every member state to defend the principles on which the organization was established.

“Czechia fully supports the sovereignty, unity and integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the upcoming “sham” referendums in parts of Ukraine. We resolutely reject any attempts to create spheres of influence instead of equal partnerships. The time of establishing colonies and acquiring new territories by sheer force is over. Today it is Ukraine, tomorrow it could be any of us.”

Condemning the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine Lipavský said Russia must be held accountable for its actions and that in addition to Russia's international responsibility for the aggression, there is also an individual responsibility for the war crimes committed by Russian troops.

Ukrainian soldiers inspect an abandoned Russian tank in the recently retaken area close to Izium,  Ukraine,  Wednesday,  Sept. 21,  2022 | Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak,  ČTK/AP

“Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens were deported to Russia, including children who were forcible taken away from their parents. It reminds us of the worst practices of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in the first half of the 20th century. All these reports on Russia’s military conduct must be independently investigated.

“Czechia supported the referral to the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation of the situation on the ground in Ukraine. We also strongly support Ukraine’s application instituting the proceedings against the Russian Federation under the Genocide Convention before the International Court of Justice. And, we call for establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression committed by Putin’s Russia. ”

In conclusion, Foreign Minister Lipavský likewise stressed the importance of supporting the stabilization, recovery and reconstruction efforts of the Ukrainian government, not only with words but with actions.

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