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What is the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin?
The court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova in connection with the forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia, where many children have been adopted by Russian families.
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The forced deportation of the population is recognized as a crime under the Roman law which established the court. Russia was a signatory to the Rome Statute, but withdrew in 2016, saying it did not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
Although Ukraine itself is not a signatory to the court in The Hague, it granted the ICC jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed on its territory.
Four visits by the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, over the past year have led to a ruling that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears personal criminal responsibility” for the child’s abduction.
What does it really mean?
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Because Russia does not recognize the court and does not extradite its citizens, it is highly unlikely that Putin or Lvova-Belova will surrender to the court’s jurisdiction anytime soon.
But the issuance of the warrant remains a highly significant moment for several reasons. It sends a signal to senior Russian officials – military and civilian – who may be vulnerable to prosecution now or in the future and will further limit their ability to travel internationally, including participating in international forums.
Does serving heads of government not enjoy immunity?
While the ICC does not recognize immunity for heads of state in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, in a significant instance, South Africa issued an ICC warrant for the arrest of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir during a visit. refused to implement. In 2015.
Pretoria argued that it “sees no duty under international law and Rome Statute to arrest a serving head of state.” [ICC] non-state-party such as Omar al-Bashir”, and in several other countries he visited, they also refused to arrest him.
The arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 on an international warrant issued by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón illustrates the difficulties involved in such immunity issues.
Pinochet claimed immunity as a former head of state – a claim rejected by the British courts – but eventually, Jack Straw, the British Home Secretary, allowed Pinochet to return home on the grounds of poor health.
So what does this mean?
While Putin now appears secure in his power and safe from extradition, future Kremlin leaders may decide that sending him to The Hague is more political than protecting him.
A good example is the former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, who was indicted on a series of war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1999 in the midst of the war in Kosovo.
In 2001, in the midst of a struggle between the main opposition figures in Serbia after Milosevic’s fall from power, the prime minister, Zoran Djindjic, ignored a court ruling banning extradition and ordered Milosevic to be transferred to The Hague. Said: “Any solution other than cooperation [with The Hague] Will lead the country towards destruction.
Milosevic’s arrest – before his transfer – put pressure on the Yugoslav government to detain the former president or risk losing substantial US economic aid and loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Are there other warrants likely to follow?
The judge said prosecutors could make up cases of new charges against Putin, thus extending the warrant.
Human Rights Watch described the decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin as a “wake-up call to others who commit abuses or cover them up”.
Balqis Jarrah, Associate International Justice Director at the NGO, said: “With these arrest warrants, the ICC has made Putin a wanted man and is set to end the impunity it has long promoted perpetrating criminals in Russia’s war against Ukraine.” has taken its first step.”
What does the ICC arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin mean in reality?
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