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The cycle of lectures of the U.S. Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges continues at Ostroh Academy

September 28, 2023

On September 28, the fourth lecture of Ben Hodges, Lieutenant General of the US Army (Retired), Senior Adviser of the organization «Human Rights First», was held at the National University of Ostroh Academy. The topic of the lecture was «Prospects for the Establishment of an International Tribunal for russia».

The moderator of the meeting was Eduard Balashov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Rector's Assistant for International Cooperation and Fundraising of NaUOA.

Here are a few key quotes from Ben Hodges` lecture:

- It is a good idea to talk about the prospects of the establishment of an International Tribunal for russia. In my opinion it is good news that NATO Secretary General is today in Kyiv. And he probably will go down in history as the best Secretary General we have had. The fact he visits Kyiv is always a good sign and he is here to reassure the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainians of NATO`s continued support.

- Many of you are observing the US politicians right now and are concerned about the support for Ukraine. Of course, there is a possibility because of the elections are approaching and some people see a political opportunity in this situation. So, I think that my president has to explain to the American people why Ukrainian victory over russia is important for the Americans. This is about the international rules-based order, respect for international law, sovereignty, international agreements, respect for freedom and respect for human rights. These significant aspects matter to the Americans and all these principles have been violated in Ukraine by russia. I feel confident that the Congress will continue to support Ukraine.

- The United States, like Ukraine, like russia are not signatories of the Rome statute. The US has resisted joining the statue because we were not confident that our soldiers will be treated according to this treaty. But now the the US Defense ministry has agreed to help collect evidences, which can be used as a court case against putin or any of his commanders and people around him. There are many organizations which are interested to hold russia accountable and the more territories will be liberated the more we will know about russia`s cruelty.

- Not so long ago Annalena Baerbock has called for the establishment of the international tribunal. The tribunal is helpful because it can address crimes where the ICC does not have jurisdiction. But it will also run some challenges because it does not exist yet. So, we have to launch it. Of course, russia will do everything to prevent its establishment and probably Chine will resist as well. It is an important thing because russia has never been held accountable for any of its crimes. Until russia is defeated in this war it will never reckon to the past and will never change.

- Drones are absolutely changing the character of war. We know that nature of war does not change but the character changes with new technologies. The US will always need to have its fleet to project the power into the Pacific. Aircraft carriers will not last a minute without other vessels that protect them from missiles and so on. The Chinese navy is designed not for global operations but for protecting their coastline. Ukraine is the country that no longer has its traditional navy yet it has forced the russian black sea fleet which name is more impressive than the actual fleet, stay away from the Ukrainian coastline.

- Countries that were once either part of the Soviet Union or were under the thumb of moscow understand what it really means. That is why these states give more assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine is at war and we are in this situation because we failed to act before. The US did nothing when russia invaded Georgia, we did nothing after they jumped over president Obama`s red lines in Syria and West really did nothing when the Russian federation invaded Ukraine in 2014.

At the end of the lecture Ben Hodges offered the students and teachers to make a joint research project on the topic of bringing over justice in the information domain, establishment of the International Tribunal to hold russia accountable for its crimes and other relevant issues.