International call for ad hoc mechanism to bring Putin to justice | Goldsmiths Law


Goldsmiths
Goldsmiths

We, academics and Visiting Professors at the Department of Law at Goldsmiths University of London as well as academic scholars from around the world, barristers, solicitors and other legal professionals, NGO experts and politicians we are working with, and everyone else providing their support to this letter, condemn the Russian Federation’s criminal aggression and all that follows from it.

Russia’s aggressive criminal military attack is contrary to Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter and customary international law, which prohibit the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.

The invasion orchestrated by President Putin meets the test of criminal aggression under Article 8bis of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Rome Statute. Putin and other Russian military and civilian leaders are criminally responsible for the crime of aggression. The indiscriminate and widespread killings of civilians engineered by President Putin constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The shelling of civilian populations is a barbaric act.

In view of the ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’ to the right to life, prohibition of torture and right to family life, the European Court of Human Rights has already asked ‘Russia to refrain from [further] military attacks against civilians and civilian objects’ (interim measures, ECHR 068, 1 March 2022).

In a historic moment at the UN General Assembly, on the very day we are writing this letter, 141 member states voted a draft resolution on ‘Aggression against Ukraine’, deploring in the strongest terms Russian aggression against Ukraine, demanding that ‘the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine’ and also demanding that the Russian Federation ‘immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine’.

And at the ICC, following the unprecedented referral from 39 states parties of the Situation in Ukraine, the ICC Prosecutor has announced his decision to ‘immediately proceed with active investigations in the Situation’, adding that the Court’s work in the collection of evidence has already commenced.

So, what should the next steps be for the international legal order? Prosecuting Putin before the ICC for the crime of aggression appears compromised because neither Ukraine nor Russia is a party to the Rome Statute although Ukraine, unlike Russia, has accepted jurisdiction.

We can also assume that referral by the UN Security Council on the basis of article 15ter of the Statute would be blocked/obstructed by Russia, using its veto power. In addition, whilst we recognise it is highly unlikely for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to accept it has jurisdiction to establish whether, let alone find that, the Russian Federation has perpetrated the crime of genocide on Ukrainian territory, we welcome Ukraine’s application to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention.

Russia has justified its intervention in Ukraine on baseless arguments that Ukraine was perpetrating a genocide in some of its Eastern regions. We support the view that this gives rise to a dispute as to the interpretation of the Genocide Convention and we urge the ICJ to send a strong signal of the vitality of the international justice system by adopting provisional measures pursuant to Ukraine’s request.

In the midst of tragedy, when monstrous evil appears in full view, the courage of the Ukrainian defence and the strength of international support give us hope. Realisation comes with appreciation of past failings of the international legal order.

We, the peoples of Europe, share responsibility with our legal and political institutions for not reacting with sufficient strength and courage to the violent falling dominoes – Georgia, Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk – and for harbouring oligarchs. We also have responsibility for not being interested enough in strengthening international law; this never featured high in election manifestos — unlike populist attacks on European human rights.

Public realisation of the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine presents a unique opportunity to renew our commitment to international law and international human rights. But public realisation may be through a short-lived window of time that will close once the war is over or settled in some way.

While the window is still open politicians around the globe MUST use public empathy with Ukraine’s plight as a driver to move the international society forward, and the Russian war machine backwards, and to ensure ‘never again’ is not empty words.

The public now expect Putin to be brought to a swift and effective trial.

They expect all the procedural and institutional limitations on prosecution to be swept aside. They demand the absurdity of the Security Council, sabotaged as it is by the veto powers of those responsible for war crimes, aggression and crimes against humanity, to be exposed and ended.

The UK, USA and France – the three Permanent Five Members of the Security Council – should play a leading role in this process, putting political pressure on Russia to accept the authority of both the ICJ and ICC for judicial resolution of all these matters.

It is a time of reckoning for China too, which has the opportunity to support the above action. If Russia refuses, the international legal order should press for an immediate and swift ad hoc justice mechanism to bring Putin, and those around him, to justice.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Visiting Professor in Law, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Virginie Barral, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London,

The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC, Visiting Professor in Law, Politics and Human Rights; Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London,

Dr Sheri Labenski, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Jessica Simor QC, Matrix Chambers; Visiting Professor in Law, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Prof Leslie Thomas QC, Garden Court Chambers; Gresham Professor of Law; Visiting Professor in Law, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Adam Wagner, Doughty Street Chambers; Visiting Professor in Law, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Sally Adams, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Miranda Bevan, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Dagmar Myslinska, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Plamen Dinev, Department of Law, Goldsmiths University of London Dr

Hannah Quirk, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London

Professor Nicola Lacey FBA, Law School, LSE

Professor Nikoloas Livos, Department of Law, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Professor Olga Tsolka, As. Professor in Criminal Law, Department of International, European and Area Studies, Panteion University, Athens

Professeur Bernadette Aubert, Faculté de droit, Université de Poitiers

 Julie Ward, Former MEP

Professor Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool

Dr John Cotter, School of Law, Keele University Professor

Cris Shore, Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths University of London

Maya Sikand QC, Doughty Street Chambers

Professor Julian Petley, Chair in Journalism, Brunel University \

Dr Subhajit Basu, School of Law, University of Leeds

Professor Graham Dutfield, School of Law, University of Leeds

Dr Simon Griffiths, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths University of London

Simon Deacon, Co-Head of the Department of Music, Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Saul Newman, Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths University of London

Conrad Heyns, Centre for Academic Language and Literacies, Goldsmiths University of London

Rebecca Moosavian, School of Law, University of Leeds

Professor Mark Johnson, Dean of Graduate School, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Marek Martyniszyn, School of Law, Queens University Belfast

Roger Casale, Secretary General, New Europeans International

Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair, New Europeans UK

Professor Debra Morris, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool

Mary Honeyball, Former MEP

Professeur Laurent Desessard, Directeur de l’Institut de sciences criminelles; Faculté de droit, Université de Poitiers

Pierre Jouette, Faculté de droit, Université de Poitiers

Professor Paul Roberts, School of Law, University of Nottingham

Professeur Philippe Lagrange, Doyen honoraire de la Faculté de Droit et Sciences Sociales; Faculté de droit, Université de Poitiers

Professor Stewart Field, Cardiff School of Law and Politics

Dr Damian Etone, Law and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling

Professor Nuno Ferreira, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex

Professor Judith Bourne, Head of Department of Law, St Mary’s University Twickenham

Dr Bleddyn Davies, Law, Salford Business School

Professor Paul Beaumont FRSE, Professor of Private International Law and Head of the School of Law, University of Stirling

Parveen Tamadon-Nejad, Law, Salford Business School

Charlotte Seager, Salford Business School, University of Salford

Professor Michael Mulqueen, Professor of Policing and National Security, School of Justice, University of Central Lancashire

Professor Jill Peay, Law School, LSE

Professor Carl Levy, Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Rachel Ibreck, Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Alexander Watson, Department of History, Goldsmiths University of London

Andy Unger, Associate Professor and Head of the Law Division, LSBU

Dr Cherry James, Law Division, LSBU Dr David Birchall, Law Division, LSBU

Professor Sital Dhillon OBE, Director, Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice; Head of Department for Law and Criminology, Sheffield Hallam University

Eduardo Baistrocchi, Law School, LSE

Dr Shane Burke, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Guy Linley-Adams, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Dr Bharat Malkani, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Professor Valerie Fogleman, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University

Rebekah Wilson, Barister, Garden Court Chambers

Edward Jones, Solicitor, Law School, The University of Leicester

Sangita Land, Law School, The University of Leicester

Holly Morton, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Troy Lavers, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Caroline Gibby, Head of Law, The University of Sunderland

Lizzy Mckinney, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex

Dr Melissa Bone, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Stephen Riley, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Nataly Papadopoulou, Law School, The University of Leicester

 Dr Eugenia Caracciolo, Law School, The University of Leicester

 Laura Bee, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Tom Frost, Law School, The University of Leicester

Dr Stephanie Pywell, The Open University Law School Louise Taylor, The Open University Law School

Alison Wolfreys, The Open University Law School Jessica Giles, The Open University Law School

Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex

Vivienne Ivins, Head of the School of Justice, University of Central Lancashire,

Dr Jane Holliday, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling

Professor Alison Mawhinney, School of History, Law and Social Science, Bangor University

John Koo, Law Division, LSBU

Fred Motson, The Open University Law School

Guido Noto La Diega, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling

Professor Paul Catley, The Open University Law School

Dr Tracy Kirk, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling

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