Last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor dismayed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

16 April, 02:01 PM
Benjamin Ferencz (

Benjamin Ferencz (

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin could be prosecuted for invading Ukraine and the crimes committed by the Russian military, U.S. lawyer and last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials Benjamin Ferencz has said an interview with U.S. news channel CNN.

"Certainly, he can be held accountable,” Ferencz said, referring to Putin.

“You cannot justify by any argument the murder of young children – taking them out of hospitals – killing their parents. We know crimes against humanity have been punishable not only in Nuremberg, but later, in many jurisdictions. You have aggression – the invasion of Ukraine would probably classify as a clear fact of aggression. And murder has always been a crime against humanity."

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At the same time, Ferencz said it was difficult to force a potential criminal to recognize the jurisdiction of the court.

"The difficulty is to get them to accept the jurisdiction of the court. The criminals will never want to have a court, so it’s up to the public to either put them in jail, or put them on trial, or throw them out of office. They cannot continue this way, to have people of importance in the administration of office telling their troops to go out and kill people they don't even know, for crimes they can't even describe. And they kill them by the hundreds and the thousands.

"I am heartbroken. I have spent the rest of my life after Holocaust trying to create a world of peace and harmony for everyone, regardless of their race or creed. And we’ve been making some progress in that direction by creating new international criminal courts, by teaching humanitarian law at universities.

“But to see it happening again – very similar – kids being shot, homes being blown up. It pains me to see that we have learned so little from the Holocaust and from the trials. And I hope we come to our senses soon. I am urging a ceasefire immediately to all the troops engaged in these combats. And use that ceasefire time to promise them a conference of all the leading participants in the next couple of weeks to find a peaceful solution, as was anticipated when the United Nations Charter was drawn up."

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