1 April 2023, Saturday, 16:43
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Arrest Warrant For Putin: All Consequences Russian Head Faces

Arrest Warrant For Putin: All Consequences Russian Head Faces

The verdict of the Hague Court is unprecedented.

March 17, 2023 will certainly go down in history. The decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin is unprecedented and shows the Kremlin's growing international isolation. The reasons and consequences of such a decision, as well as the prospect of creating an International Tribunal that will investigate the crimes of Russians in Ukraine, writes Apostrophe.

“Putin is allegedly responsible for the illegal deportation of children and the illegal transfer of children from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the International Criminal Court said in a press release. Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children's Rights of the Russian Federation, is suspected of similar crimes.

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin called this decision of the ICC historical. “Now if Putin leaves Russia, he will be arrested and handed over to the ICC. World leaders will think twice before shaking his hand or sitting down at the negotiating table with him. This is another clear signal to the world that the Russian regime is criminal,” Kostin wrote on his Facebook page. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine noted that his office had submitted to the ICC more than 40 volumes of materials on the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.

The decision of the ICC can indeed be called historic. Sanctions have been imposed on Putin personally for the first time.

However, there is one hitch with the arrest of the Russian president. Putin can be arrested in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute and accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Now there are 123 such countries: the countries of the European Union, South America, Australia, and about half of Africa.

Among the countries where the Rome Statute has not been ratified is Ukraine. True, such a flaw is easy to fix. To do this, it is enough to vote for the ratification of the Rome Statute in the Verkhovna Rada.

However, according to political scientist, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies Vitaliy Kulik, at the moment Kyiv's decision on this issue is on pause.

“Whether Ukraine will ratify the Rome Statute is a question. All the years of independence, our government avoided this, fearing to fall under the influence of this court itself. Since 2014, it has not been ratified, fearing that ATO veterans will fall under persecution. Attempts to accuse them of genocide have already been made. Everything will now depend on political will,” he said in a comment to Apostrophe.

In addition to Ukraine, such countries as the United States, China, India, Israel and Turkey have not ratified the Rome Statute or have withdrawn their signature from the document. And, of course, Russia.

Actually, representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova emphasizes the following: “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible “recipes” for arrest coming from the International Court of Justice will be legally null and void for us.”

Russia would not be Russia if it had not decided to bring this event to the point of complete absurdity by deciding to try ... judges from the Hague. The Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation announced that it would conduct “a procedural check in connection with the illegal issuance of warrants for the arrest of citizens of the Russian Federation by the International Criminal Court”.

“As part of the audit, the Investigatory Committee of Russia will identify specific individuals from among the judges of the ICC who made the above obviously illegal decisions. Based on the results, a procedural decision will be made,” the release says on the agency’s website.

Nevertheless, no matter what the Russian authorities say and do, the ICC decision has seriously complicated Putin's relations with the leaders of other countries.

In the light of this decision, the forthcoming visit to Russia of Chinese President Xi Jinping sparkled with new colors. The head of China was going to visit Moscow on March 20-22 and discuss “topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China”.

After Putin is declared an international criminal, the Chinese leader risks losing face. Nevertheless, according to Vitaly Kulik, the decision of the International Criminal Court will not derail Xi Jinping's trip to Putin.

“Xi will arrive quietly in Moscow, this will not stop him. First, China does not recognize the Rome Statute. And secondly, Xi himself is one step away from such a warrant, since he is organizing the genocide of the Uyghurs in China. Xi will condemn the U.S. for foreign policy, condemn the unipolar world, and discuss something with Putin. However, Xi's visit will be the last visit of a leader of a major country to Russia,” the expert said.

It is worth noting that so far the ICC has only issued a warrant for the arrest of an incumbent head of state. It happened in 2008. Then the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, was accused of genocide due to alleged ethnic cleansing during one of the conflicts in the south of the country. Despite the warrant, al-Bashir continued to travel overseas, including to countries that have ratified the Rome Statute.

In 2019, 75-year-old al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup, and two years later the new authorities announced they would extradite him to the Hague. However, this has not happened so far.

“Countries that have signed the Rome Statute are formally required to comply with this warrant. But in practice this does not always happen. For example, the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, for whom such a warrant was issued, calmly traveled to these countries. But for Ukraine, this is a positive sign, because after this order you can go further. And I think that further condemnation of the methodology and practice of ruscism, by analogy with fascism, will follow. I hope that thanks to this we will have an effective tribunal, and if an international tribunal issues a warrant for Putin's arrest, then the UN member states will have to execute it. Putin has now become non-handshakable and will no longer be able to visit any civilized country. All bridges have been burned, and no one will negotiate with Putin,” Vitaly Kulik said.