Will the International Criminal Court Arrest Putin?
International Criminal Court judges have issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova. What does that mean and what are the consequences?
It is important to understand and consider the qualifications of the crimes. The charges relate to the illegal deportation and illegal transfer of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. The crimes were committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine at least from February 24, 2022. The deportation of children is classified as a war crime.
Such a qualification does not preclude the acts from being classified as crimes against humanity or genocide with additional evidence. However, the proof threshold for these most serious cases is much higher international crimes.
The ICC has jurisdiction over individuals bearing criminal responsibility for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes the aggression.
And it is the prosecutor who, based on the findings of the investigation, can apply for a warrant to be issued to the Pre-Trial Chamber, which is overseeing the investigation into the situation. In order to issue an arrest warrant, judges must be satisfied that there is reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect has committed an international crime.
Vladimir Putin is responsible not only for the crimes he committed directly, but also for the actions of his subordinates, whom he controls.
Maria Lvova-Belova, as the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Children’s Rights, directly implements the policy of the Russian Federation on the deportation of Ukrainian children and their adoption on the territory of Russia.
Arrest warrants mean that Putin and Lvova-Belova can be arrested in any country that has ratified the Rome Statute (and there are 123 such countries) and cooperate with the ICC.
Incidentally, even some countries that are not parties to the Rome Statute have agreed to cooperate with the ICC, including Ukraine, which has repeatedly stated that it supports the ICC and is ready to assist in the investigation.
The consequences of the arrests of Putin and Lvova-Belova will depend on many factors, including the willingness of individual countries to enforce the arrest warrants, the political situation and the international response.
The issue of child deportation and international crime is always a sensitive one. According to official data from Ukraine, 16,226 children were deported. And that’s just for the last year.
The real numbers are likely to be significantly higher. Among these children are socially disadvantaged, deprived of parental care and orphans.
Russian officials, particularly Lvova-Belova, openly share information on social media about Russians adopting Ukrainian children. In other words, the Russians themselves are filming and documenting the deportation of Ukrainian children, creating additional evidence.
This decision is really important. And given the scale and complexity of international crime, the outcome is indeed fast, which is cause for some optimism. After all, the investigation was opened on March 3, 2022. And in fact we have already had two orders within a year. And even for high-ranking officials.
Focusing on specific cases where guilt can be proven is the right strategy. The decision against top officials sends a strong message to the international community and potentially strengthens the role of the ICC.
Russian aggression and the sheer scale of the crimes have become something of a test and opportunity for the ICC to demonstrate its capabilities. And judging by everything, the court understands this.
However, the decision only affects crimes committed after the full-scale Russian aggression. At the same time, facts about the deportation of children from Crimea and Donbass have been recorded since 2014. In particular, in 2014 there were about 4,300 children without parental care and orphans in Crimea.
The imposition of Russian citizenship, adoption by Russian families and deportation are not isolated cases. And corresponding procedures were registered by the Prosecutor’s Office of Crimea. Therefore, in my opinion, the ICC should examine the facts from 2014, not from 2022.
The issuing of orders was made possible in particular by the efforts of a number of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations that have been dealing with the issue of child deportation for a long time and draw attention to the importance of this category of crimes.
These organizations include the International Renaissance Foundation, the Right to Protection Foundation, and others.
These organizations include members of the “Ukraine.5 am” coalition. In particular, the Regional Center for Human Rights. And, for example, the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group (ULAG), which investigates the issue and represents the interests of victims in cases related to the illegal transfer and deportation of children, including through the mechanism of universal jurisdiction.
ULAG human rights activists are also working with law enforcement agencies and the Department of Protection of Children’s Interests and Combating Violence of the Attorney General’s Office to develop a clear strategy for investigating the facts of child displacement and punishing the perpetrators.
Source : news.yahoo.com