Arrest warrant issued against Putin, but can he be apprehended
An arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin over war crime allegations of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. The court also stated that it had issued a warrant against Russia's Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, on similar charges. However, can the Russian president really be arrested? Here's all you need to know.
Why does this story matter?
- The ICC's warrants come a day after United Nations (UN) investigators stated Russia's forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to areas under its control count as a "war crime."
- Officials added many children and parents had spoken of youngsters being told by Russian social services that they would be adopted or placed in foster families.
- Notably, neither Russia nor Ukraine are ICC members.
Know about ICC's charges against Putin
In an official release, the ICC issued the warrant for Putin's arrest on allegations of unlawfully deporting children and transferring people illegally to the Russian Federation from the territory of Ukraine. Furthermore, this legal move binds the court's 123 member states to apprehend Putin and transfer him to The Hague in the Netherlands for a legal trial if he ever enters their territory.
ICC prosecutor reveals basis of arrest warrants against Putin
Speaking to the news agency AFP, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan stated that the arrest warrants against the Russian president and Lvova-Belova were "based upon forensic evidence, scrutiny, and what's been said by those two individuals." Khan also added, "The evidence we presented focused on crimes against children. Children are the most vulnerable part of our society."
Here's how Moscow reacted to ICC's warrants
Reacting to ICC's move, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "Russia, just like a number of different countries, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court, and so from a legal point of view, the decisions of this court are void." Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev compared the court's arrest warrant against Putin to toilet paper, reported AFP.
Only way Putin, Lvova-Belova can be arrested
According to legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg, the warrant is "not going to stand trial unless he is arrested—and he's not going to be arrested while he remains running Russia," and the same is applicable for Lvova-Belova, too, as per Sky News. Since the ICC doesn't have its own police force, it depends on member states to cooperate with it, Rozenberg told the news outlet.
All you need to know about ICC
The ICC is an international tribunal and intergovernmental organization based in The Hague that probes and tries people charged with the gravest offenses of concern to the global society. Such offenses include war crimes, genocide, crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity. Since being launched in July 2002, the ICC says it has sought to complement and not replace national courts.
Xi Jinping, close ally of Putin, to visit Russia
The shocking arrest warrants from the court came just hours after other major developments that could significantly impact the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war took place, including a Moscow visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping and more fighter jets for Kyiv forces from Slovakia. To recall, Russia launched an armed invasion of Ukraine in February last year over a territorial dispute, triggering a global crisis.