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Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin: Can Russia’s Leader Go to Trial?

The International Criminal Court has issued a third arrest warrant for the sitting head of state. ordered the arrest of Vladimir Putin on Friday.

After a lengthy investigation into potential war crimes in Ukraine, a Hague-based court ruled that the Russian president had ‘Illegal deportation’ of thousands of children from war-torn country.

A member of Putin’s government and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Livova Belova, was also issued a warrant because of her role in alleged war crimes.

The announcement by the ICC was overjoyed in Ukraine and applauded by Western allies in Kiev.

but What It Really Means For Putin?

What is an ICC arrest warrant?

International Criminal Court in The Hague prosecute war crime suspectsCrimes Against Humanity and Genocide.

Established in 1998, the Court is empowered by the 60 countries that have signed the Rome Statute. Since then, membership has more than doubled.

The ICC has the power to investigate crimes committed in countries that are members of the ICC or recognize the jurisdiction of the courts.

Arrest warrants can be issued to persons with legal status suggesting they have committed war crimes in order to be tried for misdemeanor charges.

What is Vladimir Putin accused of?

The President of Russia and his Children’s Rights Commissioner held accountable for “the war crime of illegal deportation of the population (children) and the war crime of illegal movement of the population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” I was asked.

The court said it had “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the alleged crimes.

The Ukrainian government believes as many as 16,000 children were forcibly taken to Russia.

Western governments also claimed that Moscow had deported thousands of children to Russia, often through a complex network of re-education camps.

Russia has never hidden the fact that it has touched Ukrainian children, but it claims the Kremlin-sponsored program is an important humanitarian effort to protect children from the dangers of war. doing.

Will the Russian president actually be arrested?

that is Putin is very unlikely to be brought to justice on charges of war crimes in Ukraine.

Anyone accused of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court may be tried, but the ICC does not hold trials in absentia.

This means that the Russian president must be extradited to Russia or arrested abroad.

The ICC does not have its own police force, so it relies on member states to detain suspects and transfer them to The Hague for trial.

The limits of courts are well known. Former President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashirhas been indicted, but has never been arrested in any other country in which he has traveled.

So what exactly does an arrest warrant mean?

It’s mostly symbolic and likely to bring a significant morale boost to Ukraine after more than a year of Russian onslaught.

But the pending ICC arrest warrant has more practical implications for Putin.

Currently, 123 member states, including the UK and the entire European Union, have committed to enforce the ICC’s orders.

This leaves the Russian president with few travel options, mostly limited to countries sympathetic to his cause, such as Iran, China and North Korea.

The legislative action obliges states to arrest Mr Putin and transfer him to The Hague, but not all signatories to the Rome Statute will execute arrest warrants on behalf of the ICC.

Outstanding arrest warrants rarely expire and are often revoked only in the event of death, similar to arrest orders. Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

How did the ICC decide to indict Putin?

Prosecutor Karim Khan last year opened an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.

He has made numerous personal visits to the war-torn country and investigative teams work tirelessly to gather evidence.

Khan has previously said the illegal deportation of children is a priority in his investigation.

Evidence was collected to suggest and acquit the alleged crimes.

What does Russia have to say on this issue?

Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that Russian forces committed war crimes during the year-long invasion of Ukraine.

Shortly after the ICC’s announcement, the Kremlin branded the court’s decision “invalid.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia found the questions posed “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Asked about Putin’s future trips to the ICC countries, he added: That’s all we want to say. ”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the announcement “means nothing 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 is not bound by it,” she added.

Has the ICC ever convicted anyone of war crimes?

The court made its historic first conviction in March 2012. Thomas Lubanga He was convicted of war crimes using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Twenty years later, he has tried 31 cases and convicted 10 people.

After a lengthy six-step process, judges can sentence convicts to prison terms of up to 30 years and, in exceptional circumstances, life imprisonment.

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