Russian President Putin has not been a person who has traveled as much in the past few years as he would like to in more than 123 countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin is cautious about where he travels abroad these days. To visit any 123 countries is a member of the International Criminal Court at risk of arrest on warrant for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Although the arrest warrant has restricted Putin’s travels, there is no certainty that he or other senior Russian leaders will be brought to justice under international law. Meanwhile, the ICC is investigating other potential atrocities. For its part, Ukraine got it Russian soldiers appear in court for war crimes within months of the conflict’s start, resulting Dozens of verdicts.

1. What is war crime?

They violate the rules of war set forth in various treaties, especially the Accords Geneva Convention, a series of agreements signed between 1864 and 1949. War crimes include intentional murder, torture, rape, using starvation as a weapon, shooting surrendered combatants, deploying weapons prohibited weapons such as chemical and biological weapons and intentionally attacking civilian targets. The Kremlin has denied accusations that its military committed such violations in Ukraine.

2. What is Putin accused of?

While Russia is widely condemned for destroying non-military targets and killing thousands of civilians, the ICC’s case is currently very narrow. In an arrest warrant issued in March 2023, the Hague-based ICC accused Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, his commissioner for children’s rights, of being responsible for the illegal deportation of children. I moved from Ukraine to Russia since the war started. Human rights experts estimate that more than 19,000 children were deported at the end of August. Russian officials said they adopted the children as a wartime humanitarian gesture.

3. How does the arrest warrant affect Putin’s trip?

Since the ICC announced the arrest warrant, Mr. Putin has not left Russia except to visit other countries that do not participate in the court, including China and former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as such as Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine. . Early December, He came The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, are also not ICC members. Putin skip August 2023 BRICS summit in South Africa after that country made it clear that, as a signatory to the ICC, it would have to arrest him. Putin has also decided visit North Korea in the coming weeks, a rare trip to a country that never signed the treaty establishing the ICC and is a steadfast supporter of his war with Ukraine.

4. What crimes is the ICC investigating?

It sent a team of 42 people – it largest such deployment — to Ukraine to investigate crimes under the jurisdiction of the court. Although Ukraine is not an ICC member, it accepted the court’s jurisdiction over incidents on its territory starting months before Russia’s 2014 seizure of the country’s Crimean peninsula. In addition to war crimes, The ICC is investigating crimes against humanity and genocide. Previously defined as acts such as murder, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, rape and apartheid when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians. Genocide identified in a 1948 United Nations convention are specific actions aimed at “the destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russia of genocide, saying Putin intends to end Ukraine’s existence as a state.

5. What are the prospects of a trial for Putin or other Russian officials?

Preventing regime change in Moscow is not good. ICC do not allow trial in absentia, and the court is unlikely to get its hands on Putin or his subordinates. It relies on its member states to make arrests, and accused Russian officials can always avoid traveling to a country that might hand them over. Afterward twenty people of those whose war crimes cases the ICC has pursued, about a third remain at large. Those charged were members of armed groups rather than state political or military leaders, with four exceptions – a Libyan general, former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, and two of his ministers – none of whom have been transferred to the ICC. Many political leaders have been prosecuted for barbaric acts in the Balkans and Rwanda, but those courts were established by the Security Council, where Russia has veto power.

6. What is Ukraine’s approach?

With the help of several countries, including the United States, Ukrainian officials began collecting evidence of war crimes early in the conflict. By mid-2023, they were open 80,000 cases. In the first trial, a Ukrainian court convicted a Russian soldier to life imprisonment for killing an unarmed civilian. In the second, two soldiers received 11.5 years to shell an educational facility. In a commentary published on The Conversation, Robert Goldman, president of the International Commission of Jurists, said that Ukraine’s approach was permissible under international law but It can be said that it is not wise. He noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross had Warning against holding such trials during times of conflict because it is difficult for defendants to properly prepare a defense in that context.

7. How are past war crimes prosecuted?

In their early practice of international criminal justice, the Allied powers tried and punished the leaders of Germany and Japan after World War II, sentencing some to death. Because the Allies granted themselves immunity from war crimes charges, the tribunals were criticized as victors’ justice. To avoid that conflict of interest, the United Nations Security Council established independent international tribunals to prosecute atrocities in the Balkans and Rwanda in the 1990s. Those horrors have revived the 19th-century idea of ​​establishing a permanent world court to hold people accountable for mass inhumane acts. The ICC was born in 2002 from a treaty known as the Rome Statute. In addition to Russia and China, notable non-signatories include India and the United States, which have argued that placing their citizens under the court’s jurisdiction would violate their constitutional rights.


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