THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A “individuals’s courtroom” put Russian President Vladimir Putin on trial Monday for the crime of aggression over his invasion of Ukraine, in a symbolic transfer to shut an “accountability hole” within the absence of a global tribunal with jurisdiction.
The courtroom has no authorized powers however prosecutors mentioned they are going to current proof that Putin dedicated the crime of aggression by ordering the invasion almost a 12 months in the past, unleashing a devastating conflict that has killed 1000’s and left cities and cities in ruins.
“This can be a crime that belongs within the annals of infamy. It’s a crime that calls for accountability,” mentioned Drew White, a Canadian lawyer appearing as one of many courtroom’s prosecutors.
Whereas the Worldwide Legal Court docket has opened an investigation into crimes dedicated in Ukraine, it doesn’t have jurisdiction to prosecute Russia’s leaders for aggression.
Nevertheless, worldwide strain is mounting for a particular tribunal to be established to prosecute the crime. The European Union’s legislature handed a non-binding decision in January calling on the 27-nation bloc to work “in shut cooperation with Ukraine to hunt and construct political assist within the U.N. Normal Meeting and different worldwide boards … for creating the particular tribunal for the crime of aggression in opposition to Ukraine.”
The Netherlands, dwelling to a number of worldwide courts, has provided to host the courtroom.
The individuals’s courtroom is an initiative of rights group Cinema for Peace, Ukraine’s Middle for Civil Liberties and Ben Ferencz, the 102-year-old lawyer who’s the final surviving prosecutor from the post-World Warfare II Nuremburg trials of senior Nazi leaders.
Every week of hearings opened in The Hague two days after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned that Washington has decided that Russian forces in Ukraine have committed crimes against humanity and insisted that perpetrators are delivered to justice.
The primary day Monday additionally coincided with an unannounced visit to Kyiv by U.S. President Joe Biden.
The courtroom is scheduled to ship a verdict on Friday, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
Putin was invited to take part within the listening to, however organizers received no response from the Russian embassy in The Hague.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Oleksandra Matviichuk of the Ukraine civil liberties group made a press release by way of a video hyperlink forward of the opening session.
“Putin and the … political management and excessive army command who initiated, deliberate and began this conflict of aggression must be punished for this worldwide crime,” she mentioned.
The primary witness was a Ukrainian journalist, Angela Slobodyan, who instructed a panel of three judges that she was within the metropolis of Kherson when Russian forces rolled in “taking pictures all the things that was transferring.”
Observe AP’s protection of the conflict in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine