Creating a Special Tribunal for Aggression Against Ukraine Is a Bad Idea,

Kevin Jon Heller, Professor of International Law and Security at the University of Copenhagen's Centre for Military Studies

Nearly 40 legal and political luminaries, including many people for whom I have the utmost respect — such as Dapo Akande, my Doughty Street colleague Helena Kennedy QC, and Ben Ferencz — have signed a Combined Statement and Declaration calling on the international community to create a Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression Against Ukraine. The entire Statement and Declaration is well worth a read, but here is the critical paragraph:

”[We] resolve, in a spirit of international solidarity, to grant jurisdiction arising under national criminal codes and general international law to a dedicated international criminal tribunal that should be established to investigate and prosecute individuals who have committed the crime of aggression in respect of the territory of Ukraine, including those who have materially influenced or shaped the commission of that crime.”

I wasn’t asked to sign the Combined Statement and Declaration, but if I had been I would have respectfully declined. […]

The most significant cost of the Special Tribunal, however, would be the message its creation would send about the selectivity of international criminal justice. We all know that selectivity is inherent in the system; it wouldn’t be possible to prosecute all of the international crimes committed in the world even if states were far more committed to such prosecutions than they are now. But sometimes selectivity is so obvious, and so indefensible, that international lawyers simply have to say “enough is enough.” Less than two decades ago, the US and the UK, along with a coalition of dozens of other states, invaded Iraq with massive military force, overthrew its government, and occupied its territory. And it did so based on a series of knowing and intentional lies about Iraq being involved in 9/11 and possessing weapons of mass destruction. That invasion was unlawful and criminal — the most flagrant act of aggression since the Vietnam War — and its results were predictably catastrophic: approximately 200,000 Iraqi civilians killed (30,000 by the end of April 2003 alone), nearly 5,000 coalition soldiers lost, more than 2,000,000 refugees created, trillions of dollars wasted, and the entire region destabilized. Yet not a single American or British leader has ever been prosecuted for aggression. Läs artikel