ICC chief prosecutor says Putin may stand trial for alleged crimes at some point

An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2021. (Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)

The independently functioning International Criminal Court is located in The Hague, Netherlands, and was created by a treaty called the Rome Statute, first presented to the United Nations.

Most countries on Earth – 123 of them – are parties to the treaty, but there are some notable exceptions, including Russia, as well as the United States, Ukraine and China.

The ICC is meant to be a court of “last resort” and is not meant to replace a country’s judicial system. The tribunal, which has 18 judges serving nine-year terms, tries four types of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes.

Putin arrest warrant: The ICC on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova over an alleged plan to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

The court said there ‘are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility’ for the alleged crimes, for having committed them directly alongside others and for ‘his failure to exercise appropriate control on the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts”. ”

Reports of Ukrainian children in Russia: The Ukrainian government claims that many missing children were forcibly taken to Russia. The Russian government does not deny taking Ukrainian children and has made their adoption by Russian families a centerpiece of propaganda.

Some of the children ended up thousands of miles and multiple time zones from Ukraine. According to the Lvova-Belova office, Ukrainian children have been sent to live in institutions and with foster families in 19 different Russian regions, including Novosibirsk, Omsk and Tyumen regions in Siberia and Murmansk in the Arctic.

In April 2022, the Lvova-Belova office reported that about 600 Ukrainian children had been placed in orphanages in Kursk and Nizhny Novgorod before being sent to live with families in the Moscow region. As of mid-October, 800 children from the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine were living in the Moscow region, many with families, according to the Moscow regional governor.

UN report on alleged war crimes: The UN said in a report on Thursday that Russia’s war crimes included “attacks on civilians and energy-related infrastructure, intentional killings, kidnapping, torture, rape and other sexual violence, as well as illegal transfers and expulsions of children”.

So, will Putin really be arrested? : Probably not.

Anyone accused of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court, which includes ICC member countries, can be tried. The tribunal judges people, not countries, and focuses on those who hold the most responsibility: leaders and officials. Although Ukraine is not a member of the Court, it has previously accepted its jurisdiction.

The ICC does not conduct trials in absentia, so Putin should either be handed over by Russia or arrested outside of Russia. It seems unlikely.

CNN’s Editorial Research contributed to this article.


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