‘People’s court’ endorses Putin indictment for aggression

Feb 23, 2023, 1:45 PM | Updated: Feb 24, 2023, 3:54 am

On the anniversary of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Judges Priya Pillai, Zak Yacoob, and Ste...

On the anniversary of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Judges Priya Pillai, Zak Yacoob, and Stephen Rapp, from left to right, read the verdict of the 'people's tribunal' where prosecutors symbolically put Russian President Vladimir Putin on trial for the crime of aggression in Ukraine, in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. The 'people's court' was set up by human rights activists and has no legal authority. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A “people’s court” without legal powers has confirmed an indictment against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the crime of aggression in Ukraine and called for his arrest.

The symbolic decision Friday came on the anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of its neighbor that triggered Europe’s biggest and deadliest conflict since World War II.

After a week of hearings in The Hague, a panel of three international legal experts issued the order and called on the international community “to take every step necessary to ensure that a court with legal powers issues an indictment against President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and takes appropriate measures to arrest the perpetrator and put him on trial in an official Ukraine tribunal as soon as possible.”

The judges, including Stephen Rapp, a U.S. prosecutor who once headed the successful effort to bring former Liberian President Charles Taylor to justice for crimes in Sierra Leone, heard testimony from survivors of Russian attacks in Ukraine and from military experts before issuing their order.

The ruling comes amid international efforts to establish a tribunal that could prosecute Putin and other Russian leaders for the crime of aggression. The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation in Ukraine, but doesn’t have jurisdiction to prosecute the crime of aggression.

The presiding judge at the court, South African Zak Jacoob, said that he hoped the hearings would add to the pressure for a special court.

“Hopefully this is a step to prosecution. As I said, we have no legal authority or force, but hopefully we have the authority of moral force and moral persuasion, which would take us somewhere,” he told reporters.

The people’s court found that evidence presented was strong enough to indict Putin, saying that as head of state he “planned, prepared, initiated and executed — and continues to plan and execute — the Russian Federation’s acts of aggression in Ukraine.”

Jacoob, called Putin’s justifications for the war “pathetic.” An invitation for Putin or his legal representatives to take part in the hearings went unanswered, prosecutors said.

“It is an insult to the international community and to the integrity of the world to make the sort of claims that he has made. And I reject them in no uncertain terms,” Jacoob said.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

3 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

4 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

‘People’s court’ endorses Putin indictment for aggression