Friday, August 21, 2020

Will Tories ask that Putin should be tried in the International Court of Justice?

Alexei Navalny, a critic of Vladimir Putin, lies in a hospital in a coma, almost certainly another critic who is a victim of poisoning.

Polifact reports that 34 Russian journalists have been killed since 2000, especially if they are writing about corruption, human rights abuses or crime.

Business Insider lists another 10 opponents and critics of Putin who have been killed.

Of course, not all of these deaths can be proven to be carried out on the orders of Putin, but as the numbers stack up, his denials become more and more implausible. A picture is coming into focus of a KGB agent turned president who is in the habit of terminating his opponents with extreme prejudice.

What can be done?

The International Court of Justice gives advisory opinions on international legal issues referred to it by the UN. Our Government should request the UN to ask that all cases of killings of people associated with opposition to, or criticism of, Vadimir Putin should be subject to judicial review. 

Lawyers would be able to call witnesses, examine the evidence and hopefully come to some clarity about what happened to all these people. They might even decide that it would be appropriate to put Vladimir Putin on trial in absentia for some of the killings.

Of course Putin  would not co-operate and would pour scorn on the proceedings, but at the same time, he would privately realise that he was losing face. The proceedings would give families and friends of the dead an opportunity to express their grief and frustration.

Also, the reaction of the British Government would be interesting. Will they accede to a reasonable request to take this matter to the UN? Or will they wriggle and squirm their way out of it, thus confirming the suspicions of many that the Commings-Johnson Tory party stands far closer to Putin's Russia than it should?

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