The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin
Charity Agasaro – 27 March 2023
On 17 March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin. The ICC – the body that investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of war crimes and genocide – have outlined what they believe is a case against the Russian president and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for the alleged oversight of the unlawful abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children. The warrant is the first of its kind to be issued for crimes related to the Ukraine War and it is only one of three in history issued for a sitting head of State (Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi being the other two). Some reports are alleging that 6,000 Ukrainian children are undergoing ‘re-education’ at Russian camps. The ICC prosecutor also argues that Putin is providing Russian citizenship to these children to accelerate the adoption process.
Since Russia is not a party to the Rome Statue of the ICC and does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, it’s unlikely that the warrant will lead to an actual arrest. However, it does mean that he will be unable to travel to the ICC’s 123 member states, further limiting his movement. In many ways, the warrant is more of a symbolic gesture by the international community, one that, it is hoped, will serve as a warning to Russian officials.