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Putin Receives Arrest Warrant from International Criminal Court

On Mar. 17, the International Criminal Court issued a call to arrest Russian president, Vladimir Putin. In a press release, the Pre-Trial Chamber II created warrants for both President Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova. Specific crimes cited include the “unlawful deportation of the population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian federation”. The first instances of these crimes occurred in Feb 2022. Feb. 2022 was the first time that the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine. 


The significance behind Feb. 2022 relies on the international security breach. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine crippled international security and complicated tensions in the Eastern Europe region. The usage of missile strikes shifted military control between the two countries and wreaked havoc on locals. The attacks came as a surprise, but Putin posited that the invasion was meant to “demilitarize and denazify”. This articulation of demilitarization emerged after his proclamation to protect the Russian people from Ukranians. He claimed genocide was one justification for the invasion, under the pretext of “denazify.”


From an alleged crime against humanity to a crime of water committed by Russia, Putin has attempted to shift the focus of his actions. Soon after the invasion, the Russian Federation initiated a new form of battle. This battle manifested in taking the future of Ukrainian children and indoctrinating them with Russian ideals. The Russian Federation implemented the return-and-adoption policy that has taken Ukrainian children from orphanages, foster homes, and sometimes loving homes. Afterward, the children were taken to cities across Russia and adopted by nationals. Under the guise of bettering the lives of orphans, children were stolen from their homes often without the consent of their parents. In some forms, this is declared a crime of war by the international court. 


The International Court is the first of its kind. Situated in the Hague, the International Criminal  Court was founded in 2002.  Its purpose remains the same: to identify, investigate crimes, and persecute the criminals who perpetrated them. These crimes are typically associated with war, genocide, or crimes against humanity. All of these crimes fall under international human rights law, informed by the United Nations’ 1960 Rome Statute. With over 100 countries sending staff members, the judgment is a holistic approach. Countries of different socioeconomic levels and government styles contribute to the inner workings of the court. 

However, despite this court having extensive credibility, it is very limited. Therefore, the arrest of Putin is highly unlikely. This is due to the fact that the ICC is only able to try cases if the criminal’s country of origin signed on to the Rome Statute or if the location of where they committed the crime is under the discretion of the Rome Statute. Unfortunately, neither Ukraine nor Russia are party to the Rome Statute. So while this call to arrest does look promising, it does not have any legal holdings.


Edited by: Maria Cornejo

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