Ukraine War, November 30, 2022: EU proposes special tribunal for trial of Putin and major Russian war criminals

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1)  María R. Sahuquillo y Manuel V. Gómez, “Bruselas promueve un tribunal especial para juzgar a la cúpula de Putin por sus crímenes en Ucrania; La Comisión Europea analiza cómo emplear los activos congelados de los oligarcas en la reconstrucción del país agredido,” El País, el 30 de noviembre 2022 (12:31 EST);

2) María R. Sahuquillo and Manuel V. Gómez, “Brussels promotes a special court to try Putin’s leadership for his crimes in Ukraine; The European Commission analyzes how to use the frozen assets of the oligarchs in the reconstruction of the attacked country,” El País, November 30, 2022 (12:31 EST);

The citation is to a machine translation into English, which is available on the website. It contains a few minor errors of translation, mainly involving gender due to the indeterminate form of certain possive adjectives and pronouns in Spanish. The errors do not detract from the meaning.


Just as Adolf Hitler and Germany committed such horrendous crimes that the Allies felt compelled to create the Nuremberg Tribunal to try Hitler and the main Nazi leaders for “crimes against peace” and other war crimes, breaking fresh legal ground, the leading nations of the civilized world and the anti-Russian coalition now feel compelled to create a new tribunal that can try Putin and his accomplices for the horrendous crimes they have committed and are committing in Ukraine.

The scale and nature of these atrocities far exceed the the capabilities of existing international legal institutions to hold Putin and his accomplices accountable for the evil they have wreaked.

Certainly there is an important role for existing institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold Russian soldiers accountable for their war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide.

But something more is needed.

Something more is needed for humanity to give expression to the utter revulsion and unceasing demands for justice to which these 21st century acts of barbarism have given rise.

The European Union has today proposed such a course of action, though the details remain to be worked out.

Certain obstacles exist. The U.N. Security Council will not be able to set up such a tribunal because of tbe veto of a permanent member such as Russia which is contained in the Charter. Soviet leader Josef Stalin was unwilling to surrender the veto power when the U.N. Charter was being drafted.)

Nonetheless, ways can be and will be found around this onstacle.

The principal governing institution of the planet, a world of eight billion people, cannot forever be held back by a provision in the U.N. Charter that was dictated by military necessities and realities in 1944-1945.

Humanity will find a way, a new institutional path for holding Vladimir Putin and other top Russian leaders accountable for the war of aggression and tbe countless acts of barbarism they have unleashed.

The Trenchant Observer


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About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.