War crimes warrant against Vladimir Putin could complicate peace in Ukraine

THE HAGUE: An international arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin raises the prospect of the man whose country invaded Ukraine being brought to justice, but it complicates efforts to end this war in talks of peace.
Justice and peace seem like distant possibilities today, and the contentious relationship between the two is a dilemma at the heart of a March 17 ruling by the International Criminal Court calling for the arrest of the Russian leader.
The Hague judges found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Cheese fries and its Children’s Rights Commissioner were responsible for war crimes, in particular the illegal deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
As unlikely as Putin sitting in a courtroom in The Hague now seems, other leaders have been brought to justice in international courts.
Former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, a driving force behind the Balkan wars in the 1990s, was tried for war crimes, including genocide, before a United Nations court in The Hague after losing power.
He died in his cell in 2006 before a verdict could be reached.
Serbia, which wants to join the European Union but maintains close ties with Russia, is among the countries that have criticized the action of the ICC.
The mandates “will have bad political consequences” and create “great reluctance to talk about peace (and) a truce” in Ukraine, said populist Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Others see consequences for Putin, and anyone found guilty of war crimes, as the primary desired outcome of international action.
“There will be no escape for the author and his cronies,” European Union leader Ursula von der Leyen said Friday in a speech on the first anniversary of Bucha’s release. the Ukrainian city that has seen some of the worst atrocities. “War criminals will be held accountable for their actions.
Hungary did not join the other 26 EU members in signing a resolution supporting the ICC warrant against Putin. Government chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said Hungarian authorities would not arrest Putin if he were to enter the country.
He called the mandates “not the luckiest because they lead to escalation and not peace.”
Putin appears to have a strong grip on power, and some analysts suspect the mandate hanging over him could incentivize a protracted fight.
“The warrant for Putin’s arrest could undermine efforts to reach a peace deal in Ukraine,” Daniel Krcmaric, an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, said in comments emailed to The Associated Press. .
A potential way to ease the path to peace talks could be for the United Nations Security Council to ask the International Criminal Court to suspend the investigation into Ukraine for a year, which is authorized under the article 16 of the treaty on the Rome Statute which created the court.
But that seems unlikely, said Krcmaric, whose book “The Justice Dilemma,” deals with the tension between seeking justice and seeking a negotiated end to conflict.
“Western democracies should worry about the costs to public opinion if they made the morally questionable decision to trade justice for peace in such an explicit way,” he said, adding that it is unlikely that Ukraine would support such a decision.
Russia immediately rejected the warrants. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow does not recognize the ICC and considers its decisions “legally void”.
And Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, chaired by Putin, suggested that the ICC headquarters on the Dutch coast could become the target of a Russian missile strike.
Alexander Baunov, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, observed in a comment that the arrest warrant for Putin amounted to “an invitation to the Russian elite to abandon Putin” which could erode his support.
While welcoming the warrants against Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, rights groups have also urged the international community not to forget the pursuit of justice in other conflicts.
“The ICC warrant against Putin reflects an evolving, multifaceted justice effort that is needed elsewhere in the world,” Human Rights Watch Deputy Director of International Justice Balkees Jarrah said in a statement.
“Similar judicial initiatives are needed elsewhere to ensure that the rights of victims around the world – whether in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar or Palestine – are upheld.


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