International Relations

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova.
  • Putin is facing charges.
  • The ICC issued the warrants because it believes Putin is personally liable for the war crimes of – Unlawful deportation of population and Unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

The ICC and Its History

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established two decades ago by a treaty known as the Rome Statute to investigate war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
  • The Hague, a Dutch city that has long been a centre for international law and justice, serves as the court’s headquarters.
  • Many democracies, including close American allies like the United Kingdom, joined the ICC.
  • The US, on the other hand, has kept its distance out of fear that the court will one day seek to prosecute American officials.
  • Russia is not a member either.

The Warrants’ Implications

  • Human rights groups hailed the warrant as a significant step towards ending Russian impunity for war crimes in Ukraine.
  • The possibility of a trial, while Putin is still in power, appears remote, because the court cannot try defendants in absentia, and Russia has stated that it will not hand over its own officials.
  • Putin’s isolation in the West grows, and his travel abroad may be restricted.
  • If he travels to a state that is a party to the ICC, that country is required by international law to arrest him.

Putin Could Be Put on Trial

  • The ICC lacks the authority to arrest or prosecute sitting heads of state, and must instead rely on other leaders and governments to act as its sheriffs around the world.
  • A suspect who manages to evade capture may never have a hearing to confirm the charges.
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