In his acceptance address in Oslo, Norway, on Saturday, Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Yan Rachinsky denounced President Vladimir Putin’s “insane and criminal” war on Ukraine.
According to Rachinsky of the Russian human rights group Memorial, Putin now refers to opposition to Russia as “fascist,” and this has served as “the intellectual basis for the mad and illegal campaign of aggression against Ukraine.”
Before receiving a closure order from Russia’s Supreme Court late last year, Memorial, one of the country’s most well-known and respected human rights organisations, spent more than three decades bringing attention to the abuses and crimes committed during the Stalinist era.
Oleksandra Matviichuk, the Ukrainian recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, urged an international court to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko accountable for “war crimes” during her acceptance speech.
The Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine’s Matviichuk accepted the award on behalf of her human rights group, saying that this will help “guarantee justice for those affected by the war.”
Matviichuk emphasised that “justice cannot wait” and that war criminals should not only be found guilty after the overthrow of totalitarian regimes.
She continued, “We need to set up an international tribunal and prosecute Putin, Lukashenko, and other war criminals.”
Along with the imprisoned Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties, two Russian and Ukrainian human rights organisations, received the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize in a formal ceremony on Saturday.
At a ceremony, Bialiatski’s wife accepted his honour in his place. The prize money totaling 10,000,000 Swedish krona ($900,000) will be divided among the three winners.
The new laureates received recognition for “an extraordinary endeavour to record war crimes, human rights abuses, and the misuse of power” in their home nations.
When the winners were announced in October, the Norwegian Nobel Committee noted that “they have for many years defended the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”