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International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin for War Crimes

On February 13th, 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.[0] The UN-backed inquiry found evidence that Russian authorities committed human rights violations, many of which “amount to war crimes”, including wilful killings, systematic torture, and the deportation of children.[1]

According to the warrant, Putin unlawfully removed children from occupied parts of Ukraine and transported them to Russia. Along with Putin, Maria Alekeseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, has also been accused of deporting people, particularly children, from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia beginning Feb. 24, 2022. Putin and Lvova-Belova have been accused of committing a war crime by unlawfully deporting people, specifically children, from occupied regions of Ukraine to Russia.

Russia is not part of the 123 signatories who have agreed to the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court. It is unlikely that Putin will travel to a country that has signed the Statute in the foreseeable future.[2] Should he choose to travel abroad, there is no assurance that he would be apprehended, as the nations he visits must be ready to take him into custody.[3]

Ukraine, similar to the United States, has not joined the ICC; however, the court has been granted jurisdiction over the Ukraine's territory.[4] In Ukraine, war crimes can be tried in domestic courts, and an increasing amount of countries are conducting their own probes.[5] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has taken an initial step in the direction of accountability, however, much more needs to be accomplished in order to reaffirm that infringements of international standards, unmerciful invasions without cause, war crimes, and genocide will not be tolerated by the global community.[6]

Poland is about to send four MiG-29 planes to Ukraine, making it the first country to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine in a show of support.[7] The Pentagon has also released a video showing the moments before a Russian fighter crashed into a US Reaper drone after spraying it with jet fuel on Tuesday morning over the Black Sea.[1]

The US has determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine and Vice President Kamala Harris told the Munich Security Conference last month that the US has determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.[8]

0. “Putin's Allies' Fears Come True” Newsweek, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/putins-allies-fears-come-true-1788649

1. “Russia-Ukraine war news: Finland and Turkey discuss NATO bid” The Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/17/russia-ukraine-war-news/

2. “Vladimir Putin Is Officially A Wanted Man” BuzzFeed News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/icc-vladimir-putin-arrest-warrant-war-crimes

3. “Will Vladimir Putin Actually Be Arrested for ICC Warrant?” TIME, 17 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6264280/vladimir-putin-icc-warrant-arrest/

4. “ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin” Voice of America – VOA News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/icc-issues-arrest-warrant-for-putin-over-ukraine-war-crimes-/7010144.html

5. “Prosecuting Putin for abducting Ukrainian children will require a high bar of evidence – and won't guarantee the children can come back home” The Conversation, 16 Mar. 2023, https://theconversation.com/prosecuting-putin-for-abducting-ukrainian-children-will-require-a-high-bar-of-evidence-and-wont-guarantee-the-children-can-come-back-home-201833

6. “Vladimir Putin: Wanted by ICC for Crimes Against Children” Center for European Policy Analysis, 17 Mar. 2023, https://cepa.org/article/wanted-for-crimes-against-children-vladimir-putin/

7. “How likely is it that Putin will ever appear in a courtroom?” Sky News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/how-vladimir-putin-could-one-day-appear-in-a-courtroom-on-trial-for-war-crimes-12836401

8. “Will Vladimir Putin ever face a war crimes trial?” BBC, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-64994992

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