Vladimir Putin’s arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court in response to the conflict in Ukraine, which is a significant move.
Nevertheless, does this truly indicate that the Russian president, who is charged with the war crime of deporting children, will ever stand trial in The Hague?
How could that have happened?
If Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, visit ICC member states, those nations must execute the arrest orders for them.
If Putin entered any of those 123 countries, he would be subject to arrest, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan responded to AFP.
While this might make Putin’s travel more challenging, the ICC depends exclusively on ICC member states cooperating to serve warrants because it has a police force of its own.
Governments haven’t traditionally acted in this way, especially when a sitting head of state like Putin is involved.
Omar al-Bashir, the former president of Sudan, visited several countries that are ICC members, including Jordan and South Africa, despite being wanted by the court. Despite being overthrown in 2019, Sudan has not yet released him.
The ICC took a “very major step,” according to Columbia Law School professor Matthew Waxman, although it is unlikely that Putin will ever be imprisoned.
What are the biggest challenges?
First and first, Russia is not a member of the ICC, just like the US and China are not.
Notwithstanding Kyiv’s lack of membership, the ICC was allowed to accuse Putin since Ukraine acknowledged its authority over the current situation.
But, Moscow has outright rejected the arrest orders for Putin.
In any case, Russia does not extradite its people.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that Russia “does not recognise the jurisdiction of this court and therefore,
the judgements of this court are invalid.
Although having signed the Rome Statute that established the court, Russia did not ratify it in order to join.
and after the ICC opened an investigation into the 2008 conflict in Georgia, it withdrew its signature on Putin’s orders in 2016.
Unless Russia undergoes a regime change, Cecily Rose, an assistant professor of public international law at Leiden University, said, it was doubtful that Putin would be tried for war crimes.
Has justice been served to high-level suspects?
But, against all odds, numerous powerful individuals have been tried for war crimes in the past, according to the ICC’s Khan.
“There are so many examples of people who thought they were above the law, yet they ended up in court,” he said.
“Have a look at Karadzic, Mladic, Milosevic, or Charles Taylor.”
Former warlord and president Taylor of Liberia was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC in 2012.
At the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal’s trial for genocide in 2006, former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic passed away in his cell in The Hague.
Finally apprehended in 2008 and found guilty of genocide by the trial, former head of the Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic was apprehended in 2011 together with his military commander Ratko Mladic, who was given a life sentence.
Exist any other choices?
Although the ICC cannot hold in absentia trials, Khan claimed that the tribunal had “other pieces of infrastructure” to advance cases.
He gave the example of a recent case in which he had urged courts to hold a hearing to confirm accusations against Joseph Kony, the Lord’s Resistance Army leader who had led a brutal uprising in Uganda. Kony is still at large, but the judge agreed to have the hearing nonetheless.
Khan continued, “That procedure may be applicable to any other case, including the current one, including Putin.
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