The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued, this Friday (17), an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, an official of his government, accused of illegal deportation and illegal transfer of children in Ukraine.
But what exactly does this mean? Can Putin be detained in the context of the war between Ukraine and Russia to be tried by the court based in The Hague, Netherlands?
The quick answer is that it’s highly unlikely.
Russia, like the United States and other countries, is not a member state of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding instrument, and does not recognize its jurisdiction.
On the other hand, the ICC, which defines and investigates crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression, does not judge in absentiathat is, without the presence of the defendant at the trial.
Therefore, to be tried by the court, Putin would have to be handed over to the ICC by the Russian government or arrested outside the country, within the borders of a state that does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
“Russia is not a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and has no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible arrests coming from the International Court of Justice will be legally null and void for us,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.
Unlike the International Court of Justice, which depends on the UN and resolves disputes between States, the ICC is independent and tries people.
Most countries in the world (123 in total) are members of the ICC, but the exceptions are notable: in addition to Russia – which withdrew from the Rome Statute in 2016 – and the US, Israel, North Korea, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Ukraine is also not a member, although it has accepted its jurisdiction. This is important because the ICC has territorial jurisdiction only between States that are members of the Rome Statute or those that have accepted its jurisdiction.
Formed in 2002 and based in The Hague, Netherlands, the ICC is an attempt to replace ad hoc formed at various times in the 20th century to try specific crimes and then disbanded, such as Nuremberg, Tokyo or Rwanda.
But it has struggled with jurisdiction, amid lengthy and complex processes that have led to just a handful of convictions.
The ICC, for its part, has been investigating the situation in Ukraine for years.
Between 2014, the year Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula – a direct antecedent of that conflict – and 2020, the court conducted a lengthy investigation and prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said at the time that there were indications of war crimes and crimes against humanity. , although in the end no progress was made on the charges.
And on February 28, 2022, four days after the Russian invasion of almost all of Ukraine, the court opened a new investigation into war crimes in the context of the renewed conflict.
Source: CNN Brasil
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