A “people’s court” put Russian President Vladimir Putin on trial Monday for the crime of aggression over his invasion of Ukraine, in a symbolic move to close an “accountability gap” in the absence of an international tribunal with jurisdiction.
The court has no legal powers but prosecutors said they will present evidence that Putin committed the crime of aggression by ordering the invasion nearly a year ago, unleashing a devastating war that has killed thousands and left towns and cities in ruins.
While the International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into crimes committed in Ukraine, it does not have jurisdiction to prosecute Russia’s leaders for aggression. However, international pressure is mounting for a special tribunal to be established to prosecute the crime.
A week of hearings opened in The Hague two days after US Vice President Kamala Harris said that Washington has determined that Russian forces in Ukraine have committed crimes against humanity and insisted that perpetrators are brought to justice.
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