Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ICC

Mains level: Ukrainian War


The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for war crimes for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.

Charges against Putin

  • The ICC issued the warrants because it believes that Putin bear individual criminal responsibility for the war crime of –
  1. Unlawful deportation of population and
  2. Unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation

The ICC and its Background

  • The ICC is a standing body created two decades ago to investigate war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity under a 1998 treaty known as the Rome Statute.
  • The court is based in The Hague, a Dutch city that has long been a center for international law and justice.
  • Many democracies joined the ICC, including close American allies such as Britain.
  • However, the United States has kept its distance due to fears that the court may one day seek to prosecute American officials.
  • Russia is also not a member.

Implications of the Warrants   

  • Human rights groups hailed the warrant as an important step toward ending impunity for Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
  • The likelihood of a trial while Putin remains in power appears slim since the court cannot try defendants in absentia, and Russia has said it will not surrender its own officials.
  • Putin’s isolation in the West deepens, and his movements overseas could be limited.
  • If he travels to a state that is a party to the ICC, that country must arrest him according to its obligations under international law.

Possibility of Putin Facing Trial

  • The ICC has no power to arrest sitting heads of state or bring them to trial, and instead must rely on other leaders and governments to act as its sheriffs around the world.
  • A suspect who manages to evade capture may never have a hearing to confirm the charges.

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