Nuremberg-style tribunal needed to prosecute Putin for invasion – Starmer

The Labour leader said a tribunal would be the best way of trying the Russian leader for a ‘crime of aggression’.

Patrick Daly
Monday 07 March 2022 21:19
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Yui Mok/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Yui Mok/PA)

A Nuremberg-style tribunal should be established to prosecute Vladimir Putin’s regime over the invasion of Ukraine in a similar way to how the Nazis were tried, according to Labour’s leader.

Sir Keir Starmer said a special tribunal was needed to close a “gap” in prosecuting Russia’s unprovoked attack on its neighbour as a “crime of aggression”.

The former director of public prosecutions said the move would let the Russian president know the “world will hold him to account” for what his troops are doing in Ukraine.

Labour said the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has already started investigating Mr Putin’s regime for war crimes, cannot investigate the crime of aggression because Russia has not ratified the statute of the court.

Any referral from the United Nations Security Council for the ICC to probe the potential charge would be likely to be vetoed by Moscow, the party said.

Sir Keir, speaking to reporters in Westminster, said: “Russia did not sign up to the provision for crimes of aggression, so therefore, under the existing provisions, that crime of aggression – going in without justification – can’t be prosecuted.

“So this fills that gap with a new tribunal.

(PA Graphics)

“It is what happened with Nuremberg, so it is based on that model.

“It is very important that it is done now because events are unfolding on the ground and Putin and everyone else needs to know that the world will hold him to account.”

The opposition leader also called on the Home Office to “get its act together” on providing a “safe route to sanctuary” for Ukrainian refugees.

It comes after the UK Government department revealed on Sunday that only “around 50” visas had been granted under the Ukraine Family Scheme, although updated figures on Monday said 300 had been confirmed.

(PA Graphics)

“I’m very concerned with the complete mess the Government has got into in relation to refugees,” Sir Keir said.

“There are echoes of Afghanistan here – lack of planning, the Government behind the curve.

“The Home Office just really needs to get its act together on this.”

Sir Keir met Justin Trudeau during the Canadian prime minister’s visit to the UK on Monday.

The pair were joined by Canadian High Commissioner Ralph Goodale, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

Mr Trudeau and Sir Keir “reaffirmed their unshakeable commitment to Nato” during their discussion and “praised the work being done by UK and Canadian forces as part of the Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic states”, according to Labour.

A spokesman added: “They spoke about the need for unity amongst democratic nations and to fight for our values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.

“On energy security there was recognition of the need to go further and faster in the push for renewables to create the next generation of jobs.”

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