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UK ‘open’ to international tribunal trying Putin over Ukraine war – Truss

The Foreign Secretary has said the UK is open to the idea of an international criminal tribunal trying Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders over the war in Ukraine (Owen Humphreys/PA)
The Foreign Secretary has said the UK is open to the idea of an international criminal tribunal trying Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders over the war in Ukraine (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Foreign Secretary has said the UK is open to the idea of an international criminal tribunal trying Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders over the war in Ukraine.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) has called on all its member states, including Britain, to “urgently” set up an ad-hoc tribunal, with a mandate to “investigate and prosecute the crime of aggression allegedly committed by the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation”.

The assembly has proposed the tribunal should be based in Strasbourg, in view of “possible synergies” with the European Court of Human Rights.

It should have the power to issue international arrest warrants and should not be limited by state immunity or the immunity of heads of state and government, or other state officials, it said.

Liz Truss
The Foreign Secretary has said the UK is open to the idea of an international criminal tribunal trying Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders over the war in Ukraine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The UK is already supporting a separate International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Asked on Times Radio by the Ukrainian MP Alexey Goncharenko if Britain would back the assembly’s proposal for a tribunal, Liz Truss said: “Well, we are very clear that Putin and all of those who’ve been behind the appalling war crimes that are being committed in Ukraine need to be held to account, and we’re working very closely with the ICC.

“We’ve sent support into Ukraine to help collect evidence, from witness statements to video evidence.

“I’ve talked to the Ukrainian government about this idea of a tribunal.

“We are open to the idea of a tribunal, we’re currently considering it, but what we want is the most effective way of prosecuting those people who have committed these appalling war crimes including rape, sexual violence, the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

“If the tribunal will help to do that, then the UK is definitely considering supporting it.”

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he looks forward to welcoming Finland and Sweden into Nato “very soon”.

Responding to the news that the alliance has received applications from both countries, Mr Johnson hailed a “historic day” for Nato and the world.

He tweeted: “Not long ago nobody would have predicted this step, but Putin’s appalling ambitions have transformed the geopolitical contours of our continent.

“I look forward to welcoming Finland and Sweden into the @NATO family very soon.”

Ms Truss also said the UK is looking into how Russian assets could be used to contribute to the cost of rebuilding Ukraine after the conflict.

“We need a new Marshall Plan to rebuild Ukraine,” she said.

“In fact, we’ve just been discussing this at the G7 meeting that I had with my colleagues from around the world.

“We are looking at what we can do to use Russian assets to help pay for this.”

Addressing Mr Goncharenko on Times Radio, she added: “It will also, in my view, need wider contributions too.

“Ukraine has been on the front line, not just fighting for your country in an incredibly brave way, but also standing up for freedom and democracy and European security.

“So we will, of course, work to make sure that Russia has to contribute to the rebuilding of Ukraine.

“But we will also look at what else can be done.

“The vitally important point is that Ukraine is rebuilt after the appalling devastation that’s been visited on the country.”