President Stevo Pendarovski addressed today online the 3rd Summit of the International Crimean Platform, which this year, due to the situation in Ukraine, is of a hybrid nature.
At the panel dedicated to the humanitarian situation and protection of human rights, President Pendarovski said that respect for the principles of justice is not only essential for the victims and their families, but is a key step towards reconciliation, once the prerequisites for that stage have been met.
Below is the full text of President Pendarovski’s address.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the last 18 months, the world has been confronted with appalling instances of war crimes, human rights abuses, torture and extrajudicial punishments executed by the Russian military and paramilitary forces.
Today, as we reaffirm our position on the non-recognition of the illegitimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and other parts of Ukraine, I would like to draw attention to the deteriorating state of human rights in Crimea.
This state of affairs must not be allowed to persist unchecked, because it undermines the very fabric of the local political community. The world has to address these crimes with a sense of utmost urgency and collective action. Each case of abuse and violation must be subjected to thorough investigation, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.
Upholding the principles of justice is not only essential for the victims and their families but is a critical step towards reconciliation, once the preconditions for that stage are met.
Reconciliation is not possible without justice, and in this context, the lessons from the wars in former Yugoslavia serve as a valuable reminder. The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was a crucial step toward learning that lesson from history and laying the ground for democracy and peace for future generations.
Just as the ICTY played a pivotal role in delivering justice and holding perpetrators to account, so too, must we today uphold robust mechanisms that ensure the organizers and abusers of human rights in the occupied territories of Ukraine are brought to justice.
That is why the Macedonian chairpersonship with the OSCE this year has placed the highest priority on addressing the issue of the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine. We have committed ourselves to leveraging our diplomatic and cooperative mechanisms to actively engage with all stakeholders, in addressing the alarming human rights abuses not only in Crimea, but in Ukraine as a whole. Even as our chairmanship draws to a close at the end of this year, our dedication to this cause will be permanent as we will pursue along the same path together with our allies and like-minded nations.
Let me stress that the end of the war and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine should not be a distant dream, but a tangible goal that requires our unwavering dedication and collective commitment. The decisions we make and the actions we take today, coupled with all the support we provide continuously for Ukraine, can shape the trajectory of the nation and its people for generations to come. Even more, our collective efforts shall contribute to the maintenance of lasting peace and stability across the European continent.
In conclusion, allow me to pay tribute to all the fallen Ukrainian heroеs and at the same time pay respect to each of you for your firm dedication to this noble cause – defending a sovereign nation, a member of the United Nations.
I thank you for your attention.