The ICC arrest warrant to isolate Putin more among nations19 March 2023
Since Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the arrest warrant it issued for Vladimir Putin and his children's rights commissioner for overseeing the abduction of Ukrainian children will have little legal impact in the sense that Putin will evade justice. There is no mechanism before the ICC by which it can enforce the warrants. Therefore, the Kremlin was defiant in the face of the ICC announcement. But there are reasons to regard the arrest warrant as a historic one.
The ICC's step, as the commentator said, is surely going to make Putin uncomfortable as he will face limits on his freedom of travel to the ICC's 123 member states. This surely will deepen Putin's isolation making Russia even more of a pariah state. As has been reported in the media, initially the ICC pre-trial chamber of judges wanted to keep the warrants secret but decided that making them public as the warrants could "contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes".
But there are other political developments around the world in which the ICC announcement came. Firstly, it came just hours after Moscow and Beijing declared that the Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Russia next week. Moreover, the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran that have been hostile against each other in the Middle East was a thing that the West, especially the US could have hardly imagined. Still the US has not shown any of its reaction over the matter. China made this rapprochement possible heralding perhaps a new age of its diplomatic power. The recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran also might have bolstered the Russian position.
There is little doubt that Russian aggression in Ukraine on 24 February, 2022 was an illegal act. Since the aggression Russia has devastated Ukrainian cities one after another with huge civilian casualties. Surely, it has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine. It is not clear how many children have been taken from Ukraine by Russian forces. According to a report published last month by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab, at least 6,000 children from Ukraine had been sent to Russian "re-education" camps in the past year.
In a statement on Friday, the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, said: "Incidents identified by my office include the deportation of at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children's care homes." The ICC judges found there are 'reasonable grounds' to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, adding that he committed the acts directly on the one hand and failed to stop others from doing so on the other.
Putin must be stopped in Ukraine. His military success in Ukraine will go down in history as a defeat of the democracy-loving free nations in the hands of dictatorships around the world.