Russia should lose veto power on UN Security Council

Russia having veto power on the UN Security Council is like Hitler having a veto at Nuremberg, says leading lawyer who prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic

  • Sir Geoffrey Nice QC believes Russia should be removed from UN Security Council or stripped of veto powers
  • Said it is a way to correct and make the current system ‘more effective’
  • Added that Russia having veto power is like ‘Hitler having a veto at Nuremberg’ 

Russia having veto power on the UN Security Council is like Hitler having a veto at Nuremberg, says the leading lawyer who prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic.  

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC believes that removing Russia from the UN Security Council or stripping it of its veto powers is a way to correct and make the current system ‘more effective.’  

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: ‘A very important step that should be taken is to kick Russia off the security council, or withdraw its veto, or in some other way stop it from having the power to stop itself being tried. 

‘That power, just think about this, is the equivalent of Hitler being given the veto power in 1944 to say who would be tried at Nuremberg in 1946.’


Sir Geoffrey Nice QC (left) believes that removing Russia, led by Vladimir Putin (right) from the UN Security Council or stripping it of its veto powers is a way to correct and make the current system ‘more effective’

Sir Geoffrey, who led the prosecution of the former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal, added: ‘Saying that the present system is a bit broken or incomplete, doesn’t mean to say we should not put all our effort into ensuring that it is improved. 

‘Certainly one of the ways it can be improved is by getting rid of Russia’s veto and then it could stand trial for the crime of aggression.

‘Another way is to ensure that after this conflict ends that identified Russian potential defendants are handed over by Russia.’ 

He suggested the international community may be more willing to take this step now as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster and has made it wake up to the shortcomings of its own systems. 

 And he suggested that the international community may be more open to taking this step now as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster and made it wake up to the shortcomings of its own systems. Pictured: Firefighters conduct work on debris after shelling hit residential areas at the Leninsky district’s Yelenovka village of the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine today

An Ukrainian serviceman inspects the leftovers of Russian military vehicles in the town of Bucha on April 8

Also in his interview with Times Radio today, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC said that a full record of ‘great clarity’ needs to be left to note the atrocities that have happened in Ukraine.  

And he highlighted the importance of keeping the records, saying that it would preferably involve war crimes trials but that it might not happen.

It comes after several world leaders and top legal minds labelled the actions of Putin’s troops in Bucha and other towns as war crimes.

Also in his interview with Times Radio today, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC said that a full record of ‘great clarity’ needs to be left to note the atrocities that have happened in Ukraine. Pictured: A group of women wait to receive free food from a soup kitchen in Bucha on April 9

And he highlighted the importance of keeping the records, saying that it would preferably involve war crimes trials but that it might not happen. Pictured: A completely destroyed building is seen after shelling in Horenka district of Bucha, Ukraine on April 7

Ukraine has already declared that it will investigate hundreds of suspects for thousands of cases of alleged war crimes. 

The country’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova told Sky News today: ‘Of course what we see on the ground in all the regions of Ukraine, it is war crimes, crimes against humanity.

‘You know that now we started 5,600 cases in Ukraine on the above war crimes’, she said, before adding: ‘Vladimir Putin is the main war criminal of 21st century.’

But there are questions over whether the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice.   

The International Criminal Court’s lead prosecutor Karim Khan last month said he had opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

But of the 46 indicted publicly by the ICC since its inception in 2002, only two are currently in prison.

And six others have finished their sentences, raising questions offer the court’s methods of enforcement and its efficacy.  

But there are questions over whether the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. Pictured: A completely destroyed building is seen after shelling in Horenka district of Bucha on April 7

If investigators for the ICC find evidence of atrocities carried out by Lieutenant Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov’s men in Bucha, the prosecutor will ask judges to issue arrest warrants to bring individuals to trial in The Hague.

But the court does not have its own police officers and relies on states to arrest suspects.   

Russia is not a member of the court, and it is highly likely that Putin would refuse to extradite anyone named in an ICC prosecution.

Therefore, Russian soldiers and commanders suspected of war crimes who are named in an ICC investigation would only be arrested if they were to travel to another country.

If investigators for the ICC find evidence of atrocities carried out by Lieutenant Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov’s (pictured) men in Bucha, the prosecutor will ask judges to issue arrest warrants to bring individuals to trial in The Hague

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