Human rights groups from Russia and Ukraine – Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties – have officially been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022, along with the jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski, at a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday.
Bialiatski’s wife received his award on his behalf. The three winners will share the prize money of 10,000,000 Swedish krona ($900,000).
The new laureates were honored for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power” in their respective countries.
“They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement in October when the winners were announced.
Russian laureate blasts Moscow’s war: Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yan Rachinsky blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “insane and criminal” war on Ukraine in his acceptance speech.
Rachinsky, from Russia’s human rights organization Memorial, claimed resistance to Russia is known as “fascism” under Putin, adding this has become “the ideological justification for the insane and criminal war of aggression against Ukraine.”
Memorial, one of Russia’s most well-known and respected human rights groups, worked to expose the abuses and atrocities of the Stalinist era for more than three decades before it was ordered to close by the country’s Supreme Court late last year.
Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk on Saturday called for an international tribunal to bring Putin and Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko to justice over “war crimes.”
The Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine’s Matviichuk said this would be a way to “ensure justice for those affected by the war.”
In her acceptance speech, Matviichuk warned war criminals should not only be convicted after the fall of authoritarian regimes, adding that “justice cannot wait.”