UK Law Soc Gazette Article: Calling Putin to account for crime of aggression

Joshua Rozenberg writes

Aplan to create a new international tribunal that would try Russian leaders for the crime of aggression is gaining traction within the international community.

The idea was suggested by Philippe Sands KC (pictured) shortly after the invasion last year and quickly taken up by Ukraine. As a London-based international lawyer, Sands has a personal interest in bringing Putin to justice: in 1914 his maternal grandfather was forced to flee Lviv, then called Lemberg, when Russian troops captured what is now the largest city in western Ukraine.

But why, I asked him at the time, do we need a one-off tribunal? What’s wrong with using the International Criminal Court (ICC)? After all, its founding statute was amended in 2010 to include the crime of aggression – defined as ‘the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a state, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the charter of the United Nations’.

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