The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola was in Lviv, Ukraine to address the United for Justice Conference. Alongside Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska, Roberta Metsola pledged the European Parliament's commitment to ensure that justice is served and that all atrocities committed against Ukraine are investigated.
© European Union | The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola addressing the United for Justice Conference in Lviv, Ukraine
The European Parliament will not in any way remain complacent in the face of documented suffering, faced by Ukrainian victims. I am here not only as President of the European Parliament but I am here as a woman, as a mother and a sister.
If we look at the legislative framework, it is very clear. The Geneva Convention says that women shall be especially protected against any attack, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court classifies rape and other forms of sexual violence as both as a crime of humanity but also a war crime. But, despite this crystal clear language in international law, sexual violence in conflict remains a vile reality.
When we say that Ukrainian victims deserve justice, any impunity will mean that we would have done nothing to prevent the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in the future.
And here, let me applaud Ukraine for having ratified the Istanbul Convention. Not all EU Member States have done that, and I will push for the European Parliament to make sure that the EU, as an entity, will follow soon.
We talk about sexual violence, but that is not only against women and girls. As you have seen it is also against boys, it is against members of social minorities. That is why this year when we awarded the Sakharov Prize, which is the highest award of the European Parliament, we awarded it to Ukraine, represented by its President, by civil society, and everybody working for the protection of victims of the Russian aggression that started on 24th of February last year.
With Prosecutor-General Kostin, we spoke this morning about the cases that have been brought up in Ukraine, but also cases that have been reported in other Member States.
This conference could serve towards the setting up of a Special Tribunal Information, in order to make sure that accountability is upheld.
Ukraine is a shield for Europe, but we need to be the shield for Ukraine, because if Ukraine is not safe, then we are not safe, and if we are not safe, then Ukraine is not safe.
And if there is something that can determinate beyond the legislative framework that I mentioned, it is the financial help that we have allocated from the European Union to support of victims of sexual violence.
I can commit on behalf of the European Parliament that we will continue to be supportive of all initiatives, both on the collection of evidence, on the investigations of the crimes but, most importantly, that the aggressors that have started a war on our continent will not go unpunished.
I am the mother of four sons. I would like to be able to tell them, when Ukraine wins the war, that everybody will be held accountable for the crimes that they have committed and the atrocities that we have seen committed against the brave Ukrainians.
The President's speech in Ukrainian can be read here.