Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the call for a body to investigate the “crime of aggression” was based on the tribunals that prosecuted senior Nazis after World War II.
The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court is already investigating allegations that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine. But while it can investigate genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Russia has not signed up to a separate ICC statute under which nations pledge not to commit “crimes of aggression.”
Brown said that “this act of aggression by Russia â€¦ cannot go uninvestigated, unprosecuted and unpunished.”
“Putin must not be able to escape justice,” he said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the call for a tribunal, which is backed by legal experts and academics from around the world.
“We are fighting against an enemy who is much stronger than us. But international law is on our side,” Kuleba told a meeting in London by video link from Ukraine.
Earlier, the UN’s top human rights body has voted overwhelmingly to appoint a three-person panel of experts to monitor human rights in Ukraine, where Russian forces are invading.
The Human Rights Council voted 32-2, with 13 abstentions, to pass a resolution that was presented by many Western countries and others who have spoken out against Moscow’s attack on its neighbour.
Only Russia and Eritrea opposed the resolution, with China abstaining.
The vote Friday was the culmination of an urgent debate called by Ukraine, during which most council members lambasted Russia.
Many Western envoys sported blue or yellow ties, scarves, jackets or ribbons on their lapels, in a reference to the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Far-flung countries such as Gambia and Malaysia spoke out against the invasion.
The result testified to growing international isolation of Russia: On Monday, five countries â€” including China â€” had voted against Ukraine’s effort to convene the urgent debate.
Ukraine’s ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko, her eyes red with emotion, told delegates after the vote: “I thank all those who voted for the right course.”