The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant warscold for Russian the president Vladimir Insert for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for kidnapping children from Ukraine.
World leaders have been indicted before, but this is the first time an independent international organization has issued a warrant against the leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Its first release warto talk during the war in Ukraine, the court called Insertarrested on suspicion of illegal deportation of children and illegal movement of people from the territory of Ukraine to Russia.
The tribunal, sitting in The Hague in the Netherlands, also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, the Russian commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges.
Russia, which is not a party to the court, said the move was pointless. Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces committed crimes during the invasion of a neighboring country. Ukraine perceived it as a big breakthrough.
What is the International Criminal Court?
The ICC, which has 123 member states, was established in 2002 to prosecute war crimewith, crimes against humanity, genocide and crime aggression if member states are unwilling or unable to do so themselves. A war crimes investigations may focus on soldiers, commanders, and heads of state.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC and Moscow does not recognize the tribunal. But Ukraine has agreed to investigate alleged crimes on its territory, starting with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Internal Affairs Prosecutor Karim Khan has visited her four times since the investigation began a year ago.
How is a war crime defined?
The ICC defines war crimes as “serious violations” after World War II War The Geneva Conventions, agreements that set out international humanitarian rights that must be followed war time
Violations include deliberately targeting civilians and attacking legitimate military installations where civilian casualties would be “excessive”, legal experts said.
What research did she do?
The ICC has 17 investigations, ranging from Ukraine and African states such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, to Venezuela in Latin America and Asian countries such as Myanmar and the Philippines.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs found five people guilty war crimewith and crimeagainst humanity, all African militia leaders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Uganda. The terms are from nine to 30 years of imprisonment. The maximum possible term is life imprisonment.
What is happening now?
Arrest warclamor for Insert and Lvov-Bialov theoretically mean the first step towards possible trial. The international community must enforce them as the court does not have its own police force to prosecute the suspects.
The chairman of the court Piotr Hofmansky said: “The Ministry of Internal Affairs is doing its part as a court. Judges issued arrest warrants. Implementation depends on international cooperation.”
Although the court is supported by many members of the United Nations and the European Union, other major powers, including the United States and Russia, are not members, arguing that the court could be used for politically motivated prosecutions.
Why is the accusation so specific?
The court statement says that Putin is “allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation (of children) and illegal transfer (of children) from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
The charge is specific because of the greater likelihood of securing a conviction. According to Ukrainian government data, the number of children forcibly taken to Russia is 16,221.
After his last visit in early March, Interior Ministry prosecutor Khan said he visited a care home for children just over a mile from the front line in southern Ukraine.
“The pictures mounted on the wall … spoke of the context of love and support that once existed. But this house was empty as a result of the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation or their illegal transfer to other parts of the temporarily occupied territories,” the statement reads.
What about other war crimes?
This could be just the beginning of a wave of criminal prosecutions. Ukrainian president Vladimir ZelenskyThe head of the Russian administration, Andrei Yermak, said that the warrant issued for Putin’s arrest is “just the beginning.”
According to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kyiv, more than 74,500 atrocities have been registered in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
Ukrainian and Western authorities say there is evidence of murders and executions, shelling of civilian infrastructure, forced deportations, child abductions, torture, sexual assault and illegal detention.
The explosions of the theater and the maternity hospital in Mariupol fall under the definition war crimes.
What other avenues?
War crimethey can also be prosecuted in Ukraine’s own courts, as well as in a growing number of countries that are conducting their own investigations. A number of mostly European states have universal jurisdiction laws that would also allow them to prosecute Ukrainians war crimewith
Recently, the European Union announced the creation of an international prosecution center for “aggression” in Ukraine, which is under the European prosecutor’s office Eurojust, also in The Hague. This could eventually form the basis of a new tribunal.
In addition, the commission of the United Nations is engaged in collecting and documenting violations of international humanitarian law to account for the evidence that is collected and distributed in Eurojust. It could also support the cases conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Will Putin be behind bars?
The chances of a trial of the Russians at the Ministry of Internal Affairs remain very unlikely. Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, so it will almost certainly refuse to carry out the arrest warthis means that the capture and prosecution of the President of Russia is almost unthinkable.
Even if this were to happen, previous cases of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have shown that it is difficult to convict the highest-ranking officials. In more than 20 years, the court has handed down only five convictions crimes, and no one was a senior official.
The first former head of state to appear before the ICC, former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, was acquitted of all charges in 2019 after a three-year trial. The main fugitive is the former leader of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide in Darfur.
What about loud sentences?
But there are precedents of conviction by individual courts. In 1993, the United Nations established a separate International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to deal with crimes that happened during the Balkans Wars, which produced 161 indictments and sentenced 90 individuals.
A year later, the United Nations established the International Tribunal for Rwanda to try those responsible for the genocide and others crimes committed there and in neighboring states in 1994. 93 people were charged and 62 convicted.
Are there other reasons why this is important?
Arrest warrants could prevent Putin from traveling the world, as member states are required to arrest him, and could undermine his standing at home. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Friday when asked if the president would avoid traveling to countries where he could be arrested on a warrant from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Some have said that the actions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will have an important impact as a deterrent and justice for Ukrainians.
Balkis Jara, deputy international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The ICC has put Putin on the wanted list and taken the first step to end the impunity that has fueled the perpetrators of Russia’s war against Ukraine for too long.
“The warrants send a clear message that giving orders to commit serious crimes against civilians or tolerating them can lead to a prison cell in The Hague.”
Professor David Crane, who 20 years ago accused Liberian President Charles Taylor of crimes in Sierra Leone, said dictators and tyrants around the world “now know that those who commit international crimes will be brought to justice, including heads of state.” .
Taylor was eventually arrested and put on trial in a special court in the Netherlands. He was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
“This is an important day for justice and for the citizens of Ukraine,” Crane told the Associated Press.