Gordon Brown calls for tribunal modelled on Nuremberg to prosecute possible Russian war crimes

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Gordon Brown, pictured in 2018, said the West should set up a new Nuremberg - PA

Gordon Brown, pictured in 2018, said the West should set up a new Nuremberg – PA

The West should set up a new Nuremberg so Vladimir Putin can be tried for his crimes of aggression against Ukraine, Gordon Brown has said.

The former prime minister called on countries to support the creation of a special tribunal, modelled on the response to Nazi war crimes after the Second World War.

He joined Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, at an event by the Chatham House think-tank to unveil the plan, which was formed by senior legal experts.

The move would echo that of nations that met in London to draft a resolution on the actions of Hitler’s Germany, and which led to the creation of the International Military Tribunals and the Nuremberg trials.

Mr Brown argued that this was needed in addition to the investigations being carried out by the International Criminal Court into the actions of Mr Putin and Russian forces.

Damage after the shelling of buildings in downtown Kharkiv - Shutterstock

Damage after the shelling of buildings in downtown Kharkiv – Shutterstock

“Ukraine wants our full support to expose and punish the crime of aggression, and that can be done by setting up a special tribunal on the lines proposed in 1942,” he said.

“President Putin has posed a fateful challenge to the post-1945 international order. He has sought to replace the rule of law with a misuse of force.

“If we were to acquiesce in any way, none of us could ever take freedom or democracy for granted ever again.

“For all these reasons, and because of the scale of the suffering of the people of Ukraine, I believe that most people would agree that this act of aggression cannot go uninvestigated, unprosecuted or unpunished.”

The proposal, which was formulated by the heads of international law and human rights at top universities around the world, is needed so that Russia could be prosecuted for its “crimes of aggression”, said Mr Brown.

It would involve the UK and other countries joining Ukraine to grant jurisdiction to a dedicated criminal tribunal to investigate both the perpetrators of the crime of aggression and those complicit in that crime.

Negotiators greet each other at peace talks on March 3 - BelTA

Negotiators greet each other at peace talks on March 3 – BelTA

“Currently the ICC can investigate crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes,” he said.

“As evidence mounts acts against innocent civilians including children and the use of vapour bombs, it may be that Russia can be prosecuted for these crimes.

“But we lack a crucial extra weapon in the legal fight against Putin because Russia has not signed up to a separate ICC statute under which nations pledge not to commit so-called ‘crimes of aggression’. We need the special tribunal.

“Mr Kuleba wants us to act and I believe we must do so now. Putin must not be able to escape justice.”

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