In the mid-1940s, after the Allied victory in World War II, a tribunal in Nuremberg held historic trials against Nazi officials, with another in Tokyo targeting Japanese political and military leaders. The key crime in question was a crime that no one had been prosecuted for before, and no one has since been prosecuted in an international context – the crime of waging aggressive war, then called crimes against peace.
Some legal scholars and public figures say that Russia’s leaders should be prosecuted in the same way for invading Ukraine. They envision a special tribunal with senior defendants, among them Russian President Vladimir Putin. The court will “signal our decision that the crime of aggression will not be tolerated and that we will not leave the stone unturned in bringing to an end the horrific events we are now seeing,” said a March statement from several international lawyers, a former . Nuremberg prosecutors and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.