It may be a relief for some to call for a war crimes trial against Vladimir Putin. Who would deny that Russia's president is waging a war of aggression? Only: Politicians should be honest enough to align the degree of their indignation with reality. Putin will never be brought to justice - and not because he doesn't deserve a conviction. There is no legal recourse against him.
It is possible to prosecute war crimes and bring the accused before a court abroad. For this to happen, however, the state whose president is to be tried must have signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Russia never did this.
The chief prosecutor in The Hague is already investigating against the Russian head of state. But more is not possible. He lacks the mandate. And even if Moscow had signed the 1998 statute, The Hague would not be allowed to impeach a head of state until the person was no longer in office. In Putin's case, this will probably take some time.
However, given the seriousness of the crimes, one or more states or even the European Union could convene a tribunal. However, this would only receive the necessary legitimacy if it is granted by the United Nations Security Council. Russia and China sit on this body. Your veto would be safe. So out of the dream.
The political dimension remains. The goal should be to negotiate the best possible ceasefire for Ukraine sooner or later. This truce will not become a victory peace. Russia is too powerful for that. So there will have to be concessions.
However, anyone who demands not only the end of the war, but also that of the supreme warlord right from the start, rules out any understanding and ultimately counts on a complete Russian defeat, if not on a peace with Carthage. Perhaps a beguiling, but above all a foolish idea.
If you beat them and win the war, you still have the misgivings that come with the story. The Versailles Treaty showed what happens when you humiliate states and try to isolate them permanently. Even the ancient Romans warned: "Memores estote, inimici, ex ossibus ultor." Be mindful, you enemies, from the bones (of the fallen) an avenger will arise.