High-ranking British politicians representing various political forces have supported the idea of creating a special tribunal to investigate the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
In a joint statement, they noted that the tribunal should be created to investigate Russian aggression on the same principles that the allies used when initiating the Nuremberg trials against Nazi leaders, Ukrinform reports.
“The Special Tribunal should be constituted – on the same principles that guided the allies in 1941 – to investigate the acts of aggression by Russia, aided by Belarus, in Ukraine and whether they constitute a crime of aggression,” the statement said.
“As well as investigating and indicting President Putin, the tribunal could also hold to account the members of Russia, and possibly Belarus’, national security council, as well as the political and military leaders of this manifestly illegal war,” it added.
Although the International Criminal Court already considers charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the invasion of Ukraine, a special tribunal is needed to consider the crime of aggression itself, since the ICC does not have the authority to do so, the authors of the statement said.
They recalled that the ICC could consider such cases only in relation to the signatories of the court’s statute or in case of a respective decision by the UN Security Council. Russia did not sign the founding documents of the court and will not allow the relevant decision by the UN Security Council to be adopted.
“It has been 10 months since Russia, backed by Belarus, launched one of the largest ground invasions in Europe since the Second World War,” the authors of the statement said. “Since then, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured, eight million people have been internally displaced and around eight million have become refugees. Civilian infrastructure and economic assets worth tens of billions have been destroyed or plundered, and irreplaceable cultural monuments reduced to rubble. Large swathes of Ukrainian territory remain under occupation or attack.”
Politicians said that the crime of aggression was the root cause of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
“If proven in court, these acts of aggression could constitute what the Nuremberg trials termed the ‘supreme international crime’,” the statement said.
According to its authors, the idea of creating a tribunal was supported by numerous lawyers, international organizations and states.
Given the UK’s global influence and historic leadership on human rights issues, the UK could play a vital role in further galvanizing international backing for the proposal, British politicians said.
“We are therefore calling for the UK government to support a Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression being committed in Ukraine. By doing so, we can act in solidarity with Ukraine and its people, signal our resolve that the crime of aggression will not be tolerated, and ensure that those who have unleashed the atrocities we have witnessed over the past 10 months will be brought to justice under the law,” the statement reads.