Nuremberg 2.0: Vladimir Putin´s Russia on trial
NEW YORK (RichTVX.com) – The National Crime Agency in the UK has conducted a major operation and arrested a Russian oligarch on suspicion of offences including money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury. More than 50 officers were involved in the operation at the oligarch’s London property. In Moscow, now, just over nine months later, Vladimir Putin appeared to be in a somewhat more redoubtable mood. The Russian dictator Vladimir Putin doubled up. Tears of laughter streamed down his face. ‘Him?’ Putin replied, ‘the guy’s a weakling, without morals, as changeable as the wind.’ If anybody embodied the banality of evil, it was Putin. There was distaste and ridicule in his voice. Vladimir Putin fixed the picture of the Russian oligarch with a stare. Something else is worrying Putin and his Siloviki. A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations in New York for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold the Russian leadership accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine, and to arrest Russian government officials, including Vladimir Putin himself. The question of how to deal with Russian war criminals had been discussed even when the war in Ukraine started, not just for the monstrosity of their crimes, but also because of the shadowy nature of the Russian oligarchs. Vladimir Putin refolded his arms, and listened attentively. The world seems ready to hunt down and arrest high ranking Siloviki and the Russian oligarchs, and to collate as much intelligence as possible. The one thing that unites all these ‘Russian oligarchs’ is that they were able to undergo a process that has been termed ‘udvoyeniye’, in which the personality moulds itself into an evil environment, and allows evil and perpetrating evil to become part of the self. The escape network arm of the Kremlin is sometimes referred to as ‘The Snake’ (Zmeya). More sensational versions place that Russian network at the heart of every modern evil, and claim that it is responsible for insinuating a clandestine version of the Nebesnaya Rossiya into the finance system of the Western world. There is also the possibility that a coup, or even an attempted coup, could result in a conflict between pro- and anti-Putin forces, throwing Russia into a bloody civil war. Plotting a coup against Vladimir Putin is a complex matter that involves much more than choosing the method by which to arrest him.
The Nuremberg trials, officially the International Military Tribunal (IMT), were held by the Allies against representatives of the defeated Nazi Germany, for plotting and carrying out invasions of other countries, and other crimes, in World War II.
Between 1939 and 1945, Nazi Germany invaded many countries across Europe, inflicting 27 million deaths in the Soviet Union alone. Proposals for how to punish the defeated Nazi leaders ranged from a show trial (the Soviet Union) to summary executions (the United Kingdom). In mid-1945, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States agreed to convene a joint tribunal in Nuremberg, with the Nuremberg Charter as its legal instrument. Between 20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946, the IMT tried 21 of the most important surviving leaders of Nazi Germany in the political, military, and economic spheres, as well as six German organizations. The purpose of the trial was not just to convict the defendants but also to assemble irrefutable evidence of Nazi crimes, offer a history lesson to the defeated Germans, and delegitimize the traditional German elite.
The IMT focused on the crime of aggression—plotting and waging aggressive war, which the verdict declared “the supreme international crime” because “it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. Most of the defendants were also charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Twelve further trials were conducted by the United States against lower-level perpetrators, which focused more on the Holocaust. Although controversial at the time for their use of ex post facto law, the trials’ innovation of holding individuals responsible for violations of international law established international criminal law.
The Charter of the International Military Tribunal – Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis (usually referred to as the Nuremberg Charter or London Charter) was the decree issued by the European Advisory Commission on 8 August 1945 that set down the rules and procedures by which the Nuremberg trials were to be conducted. This then served as a model for the Tokyo Charter issued months later against the Empire of Japan.
The charter stipulated that crimes of the European Axis Powers could be tried. Three categories of crimes were defined: crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the charter also stated that holding an official position was no defense to war crimes. Obedience to orders could only be considered in mitigation of punishment if the tribunal determined that justice so required.
The criminal procedure used by the tribunal was closer to civil law than to common law, with a trial before a panel of judges rather than a jury trial and with wide allowance for hearsay evidence. Defendants who were found guilty could appeal the verdict to the Allied Control Council. In addition, they would be permitted to present evidence in their defense and to cross-examine witnesses.
The charter was developed by the European Advisory Commission under the authority of the Moscow Declaration: Statement on Atrocities, which was agreed at the Moscow Conference (1943). It was drawn up in London, following the surrender of Germany on VE Day. It was drafted by Robert H. Jackson, Robert Falco, and Iona Nikitchenko of the European Advisory Commission and issued on 8 August 1945.
The charter and its definition of crimes against peace was also the basis of the Finnish law, approved by the Finnish parliament on 11 September 1945, that enabled the war-responsibility trials in Finland.
The agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis and the annexed charter were formally signed by France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States on 8 August 1945. The agreement and charter were subsequently ratified by 20 other Allied states.