Will Putin really ever be arrested?
THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court has taken a big step by issuing an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for the Ukraine war.
But does that mean the Russian president, accused of the war crime of deporting children, will really ever stand trial in The Hague?
This is what awaits you in this article
– How could that happen? –
The member states of the International Criminal Court are obliged to execute the arrest warrants against Putin and Russia’s Presidential Children’s Rights Envoy Maria Lvova-Belova if they travel to their countries.
“That is correct,” said ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan AFP when asked if Putin would be arrested if he set foot in any of those 123 nations.
But while this could make it more difficult for Putin to travel, the court does not have its own police force to enforce its warrants and relies solely on ICC states to cooperate.
Countries have not always done this – especially when dealing with an incumbent head of state like Putin.
Former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir managed to visit a number of ICC member states, including South Africa and Jordan, despite an ICC arrest warrant.
Despite being ousted in 2019, Sudan has yet to extradite him.
Matthew Waxman, a professor at Columbia Law School, said it was a “very significant step by the ICC, but the chances are slim that we’ll ever see Putin arrested.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on Friday on social and economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol via video link at the Kremlin in Moscow. (Photo: AFP)
– What are the biggest hurdles? –
First of all, like the US and China, Russia is not a member of the ICC.
The ICC was able to indict Putin because Ukraine has accepted its jurisdiction over the current situation, even though Kiev is not a member either.
But Moscow has flatly dismissed the arrest warrants against Putin.
Under no circumstances will Russia extradite its citizens.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia “does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and therefore the decisions of this court are void from a legal point of view.”
Russia actually signed the court’s founding Rome statute but did not ratify it to become a member, then withdrew its signature on Putin’s order in 2016 after the ICC opened an investigation into the 2008 war in Georgia.
Putin is unlikely to be in the dock for war crimes “unless there is regime change in Russia,” said Cecily Rose, assistant professor of international law at Leiden University.
– Have high-level suspects been brought to justice? –
However, history has seen several high-profile figures end up in the dock for war crimes against all odds, the ICC Khan said.
“There are so many examples of people who thought they were outside the reach of the law… they ended up in court,” he said.
“Look at Milosevic or Charles Taylor or Karadzic or Mladic.”
The ICC convicted former Liberian warlord-turned-President Taylor in 2012 of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell in The Hague in 2006 while facing genocide charges before the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was eventually arrested in 2008 and convicted by the tribunal of genocide, and its military leader Ratko Mladic was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
– Any other options? –
The ICC cannot try suspects in absentia, but Khan said the court has “other pieces of architecture” to move cases forward.
He cited a recent case in which he asked judges to hold a hearing to confirm the charges against Joseph Kony – the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who started a bloody rebellion in Uganda – although Kony is still at large.
“This trial may be available for any other case – including the current one” that Putin is implicated in, Khan added.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch