The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he may never stand trial for his alleged crimes, according to materials released by the court.
“This is probably the most high-profile action the International Criminal Court has ever taken,” Steven Groves, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation specializing in international law, told Fox News Digital.
“[The court] has accused heads of state before as with al-Bashir, but this is Sudan. This is Russia,” Groves said. “The reality of the situation is that Putin will never report himself and Russia will not report Putin.”
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, along with an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights at the Office of the President of the Russian Federation.
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The court said it found “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of population from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, to the detriment of Ukrainian children.”
Watchdog groups hailed the warrant as strong testimony, but the ICC’s own materials indicate that it has only judicial powers and relies on member states to honor requests to extradite suspects.
A booklet on the subject “Arrest of ICC suspects at large‘ notes that 15 people are at large with pending warrants and the court has seen that at least four warrants have expired since the suspect died before authorities could arrest them.
The ICC operates largely under the authority of the 1998 Rome Statute, which not all countries follow or recognize, including the US, Russia and China. Many other states — some 123 in all — including the G20 and G8 members are member states, and this is where Putin could feel the most influence.
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“The real rubber hits the road when Putin travels, because if Putin travels to another country that is a party to the Rome Statute, there is a legal obligation for that party to comply with the treaty,” Groves said.
“It doesn’t matter whether Russia goes to China, for example, or to another country that is not a member of the ICC,” he explained. “But let’s assume there is one G-20 meeting in Japan, for example, or in any other country that is party to this treaty and takes its obligations seriously… You would be required under the terms of the treaty to assist in the arrest of any accused subject to an arrest warrant.”
Groves noted that his key takeaway from the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant is that it is likely to limit Putin’s involvement in G20 and G8 trials and similar international bodies. Countries such as Japan, Canada and Turkey are member states of the statute.
But the warrant carries the risk that it could demonstrate the ICC’s lack of authority or power and rely too heavily on the treaty or other countries’ obligations to arrest Putin.
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the arrest warrant, saying: “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, even from a legal point of view.”
Groves suggested that Interpol may need to issue a red letter notice to bring Putin to justice, but the group has not yet announced any intention to issue an arrest warrant and has not yet responded to a Fox News Digital request a comment on the matter replied to the publication.
And ultimately, the power to impose additional sanctions on Russia rests with individual nations or with the United Nations Security Council — the latter likely to prove ineffective given Russia’s veto power as a permanent member of the council, Groves noted.
“The bottom line for me is that if the international community wants real accountability for war crimes, it should ensure that Ukraine has the ability to conduct war crimes trials on its own soil and that it gets as many members of the Russian military for it can be arrested as on the battlefield and tried for war crimes,” Groves said.
Advocacy group Human Rights Watch welcomed the announcement, saying it sends “a clear message” and “a wake-up call to others” that “their day in court could come, regardless of their rank or position.”
“This is a big day for the many victims of Crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine since 2014,” Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in a statement to Fox News Digital. “With these arrest warrants, the ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step to end the impunity that has emboldened perpetrators in Russia’s war against Ukraine for far too long.”
Source : news.yahoo.com