The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Ombudsman for Children Maria Lvova-Belova. The court suspects them of illegal deportation of children from the territory of Ukraine, reported on the court website. In Russia, the very formulation of the question of the arrest of the Russian leader has been described as “outrageous and unacceptable”. What may follow the decision of the ICC, RTVI has understood.
What court are you talking about?
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is the only permanent international court of criminal justice in the world, established in 2002 under the Rome Statute of 1998, which has 123 signatories. It investigates “serious violations” of the Geneva Conventions, which govern the conduct of armed conflict.
Among the ICC’s 123 member states are the 27 EU countries, plus Moldova, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Venezuela and South Africa.
At the same time, the three permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, China and Russia – do not recognize the Court’s jurisdiction. Moreover, Washington has called the work of the ICC one-sided and even introduced sanctions against ICC officials in 2020 due to an attempt to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed by the US military in Afghanistan. In 2021, the sanctions were lifted. US President Joe Biden called the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin reasonable, but said Washington still does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction.
What does the ICC decision mean and will Putin be able to travel abroad
The ICC does not conduct trials in absentia and does not have its own police force to arrest suspects, so it will be up to individual states that have signed the Rome Statute to execute the warrant. In other words, the ICC decision is symbolic, and being in Russia or one of the more than 60 countries that do not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, Vladimir Putin is completely safe.
Even a trip to an ICC member country would not mean that the Russian president would be arrested there. For example, when an international tribunal issued two arrest warrants in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity against then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, that did not stop him from visit in 2015, member of the ICC South Africa.
Nor did the ICC decision lead to al-Bashir’s international isolation. For example, the League of Arab States, which includes 22 countries (three of which – Jordan, Djibouti and Tunisia – are members of the ICC), supported The Sudanese leader, lamenting that the ICC issued an arrest warrant against him, but turned a blind eye to Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.
Vladimir Poutine guest at the BRICS summit in South Africa at the end of August. The Kremlin did not say whether the issuance of an international court order would affect the Russian president’s travel schedule.
How the ICC decision will affect the possibility of resolving the conflict in Ukraine
The issuance of an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin could complicate the process of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, admit experts. “Anything that further isolates Putin’s position is risky and could lead him to redouble his resolve <…> I don’t think it will help end (the conflict) anytime soon,” UK military analyst Sean Bell told Sky News. The ICC mandate will be an additional complicating factor in the Ukraine negotiations, as the accusations against the Russian president could reduce the motivation of Western leaders to negotiate directly with him, political scientist Daniel Krkmarich of US Northwestern University wrote on Twitter.
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