Human rights groups from Russia and Ukraine – Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties – officially received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022, along with imprisoned Belarusian lawyer Ales Bialiatski, during a a ceremony in Oslo on Saturday.
Bialiatski’s wife received her award on his behalf. The three winners will share the prize money of 10,000,000 Swedish crowns ($900,000).
The new laureates were honored for “an exceptional effort to document war crimes, human rights violations and abuses of power” in their respective countries.
“They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and to protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement in October when the laureates were announced.
A Russian laureate denounces the Moscow war: Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yan Rachinsky blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “senseless and criminal” war on Ukraine in his acceptance speech.
Rachinsky, of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, claimed that resistance to Russia was known as ‘fascism’ under Putin, adding that it had become ‘the ideological justification for senseless war and criminal act of aggression against Ukraine”.
Memorial, one of Russia’s best-known and most respected human rights groups, worked to expose Stalin-era abuses and atrocities for more than three decades before the Supreme Court of country ordered its closure at the end of 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 for “war crimes”.
The Matviichuk Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine said it would be a way “to ensure justice for those affected by war”.
In his acceptance speech, Matviichuk warned that war criminals should not be convicted only after authoritarian regimes have fallen, adding that “justice cannot wait”.