On January 16, 2023, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock proposed the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian leaders for their aggression in Ukraine. The proposed Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine would follow the actions of the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. It would focus solely on the crime of aggression, which is not covered by the other three courts.
Over 100 experts have published a statement in support of the tribunal, which would investigate and indict President Vladimir Putin and the members of Russia’s, and possibly Belarus’s, national security council, as well as the political and military leaders of this manifestly illegal war. The tribunal would draw on international law, which proscribes aggression, and the domestic law of Ukraine, which enshrines aggression as a criminal offense.
At present, the United States and the United Kingdom have yet to express their position on the issue. This may delay the creation of the Special Tribunal, however, the need to address this crime of aggression is urgent in order to send a clear message to any other dictators with similar ambitions. It remains to be seen if the proposed tribunal will come to pass, and what the international community's reaction will be.