More than 1.3 million people from across the globe have signed a petition calling for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to face a Nuremberg-style trial following his invasion of Ukraine.
The petition, simply titled ‘Put Putin on trial’ was started on 14 March, almost three weeks after the president announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. It has a goal of 1,500,000 signatures and at the time of writing, 22 March, has amassed more than 1,340,000, with the figure rising rapidly.
A description alongside the petition accuses Putin of ‘committing the ‘supreme international crime’ – aggression – right before our eyes’, and claims there is a ‘powerful way to hold him to account’ with a Nuremberg-style tribunal.
The original Nuremberg trials took place in Germany in 1945 and 1946 following the end of World War II and marked the first ever international war crime trials. They involved the indictment of Nazi leaders, who were then tried as war criminals on counts of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ‘a common plan or conspiracy to commit’ the three aforementioned criminal acts.
The petition comes after Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed his support for an initiative to ‘create a special Tribunal aimed at delivering justice for the crime of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine’, with the petition arguing that ‘massive public backing would give this idea irresistible momentum and it would send Putin and his cronies a powerful message – the world is going to hold you personally to account’.
It added: “This new court is key to defending not just Ukraine but the entire world from an attack that was illegal from the minute it began. Join the global call to prosecute Putin’s crime in a new Nuremberg-style tribunal.”
Members of the public from countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil and Ukraine itself have signed the petition, while former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Sir John Major have also shown their support for a new international tribunal.
In an article for the Daily Mail, Brown said creating a new tribunal would close off this ‘loophole’ in international law ‘that Putin could use to dodge justice’, adding: “We must move with speed, to assure the people of Ukraine that we are committed to action and not just warm words – and we must make Putin’s collaborators aware that the noose is tightening. If they do not distance themselves from Putin, they face prosecution and prison.”
Putin has been accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine as Russian forces have bombed a number of civilian areas.