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City's Lord Mayor calls for war crimes tribunal

Report by Barbara Goulden

The Lord Mayor of Coventry took the unprecedented step of calling for an

international tribunal to investigate possible war crimes being committed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cllr John McNicholas (right) spoke out after a fundraising folk concert in the city (on March 27).

He added that the city council's decision to suspend Coventry's links with its Russian twin city of Volgograd - the first set up after the Second World War - had not been taken lightly but to demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Ukraine. He was speaking at the end of an all-afternoon and evening concert featuring 25 of the best-known folk acts in the region who gathered at the Albany Theatre to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.

The event was set in motion by local musician Pete Willow of the CV Folk collective who invited more than 60 musicians to perform free of charge, including Pauline Black of Selecter - who began her career as a folk artirst - the Kevin Dempsey trio, Keith Donnelly, Meet On The Ledge, Wes Finch, Lauren South, Rob Halligan's Homewood Hire, and Birmingham band The Lost Notes.

After winning the support of the Albany management and a host of volunteers, Pete also arranged for the event to be filmed and made available on YouTube. It's hoped at least £2,000 may be raised.

Pete said he decided to act after asking the question: "If an aggressive dictator chooses to invade and severely impair a neighbouring country, what can a bunch of musicians and folk fans do about it?

"The answer is – do what we do best and play music! And if our efforts raise funds to support and aid the victims of aggression, then we as musicians and music followers become part of the resistance."

If you'd like to donate to help Ukrainian refugees, please go to


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