What to Know About the ICC’s Arrest Warrant for Putin

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Europe|Here’s what to cognize astir the I.C.C.’s apprehension warrant for Putin.


The International Criminal Court issued an apprehension warrant for President Vladimir V. Putin and a Russian authoritative for warfare crimes. Here’s a look astatine the warrant and what it could mean for Russia’s leader.

A representation    of Vladimir V. Putin, the president   of Russia, successful  a shattered framework  connected  a grey  chromatic  wall.
A smashed representation of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia seen past twelvemonth extracurricular a constabulary situation successful Kherson City, Ukraine, wherever occupying Russian forces held Ukrainian prisoners.Credit...Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
  • Published March 17, 2023Updated March 18, 2023, 8:28 a.m. ET

The International Criminal Court connected Friday issued an apprehension warrant for warfare crimes for President Vladimir V. Putin and a 2nd Russian official. Here’s a person look astatine the court, the warrant and what it could mean for Russia’s leader.

The tribunal says that Mr. Putin bears idiosyncratic transgression work for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children since Russia’s full-scale penetration began successful February past year. The tribunal besides issued a warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, who has been the nationalist look of a Kremlin-sponsored programme successful which Ukrainian children and teenagers have been taken to Russia.

The tribunal said successful a statement “that determination are tenable grounds to judge that each fishy bears work for the warfare transgression of unlawful deportation of colonisation and that of unlawful transportation of colonisation from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

A New York Times probe published successful October identified respective Ukrainian children who had been taken distant nether Russia’s systematic resettlement efforts. The children described a wrenching process of coercion, deception and force. Russia has defended the transfers connected humanitarian grounds.

Lawyers acquainted with the I.C.C.’s lawsuit precocious said they expected prosecutors to proceed with the apprehension warrants due to the fact that determination was a beardown way of nationalist evidence. On Friday, the tribunal said successful a statement that it was mindful “that the behaviour addressed successful the contiguous concern is allegedly ongoing, and that the nationalist consciousness of the warrants whitethorn lend to the prevention of the further committee of crimes.”


Outside the International Criminal Court successful The Hague past year.Credit...Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

The International Criminal Court was created 2 decades agone arsenic a lasting assemblage to analyse warfare crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity nether a 1998 pact known arsenic the Rome Statute. Previously, the United Nations Security Council had established advertisement hoc tribunals to code atrocities successful places similar the erstwhile Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The tribunal is based successful The Hague, a Dutch metropolis that has agelong been a halfway for planetary instrumentality and justice.

Many democracies joined the International Criminal Court, including adjacent American allies similar Britain. But the United States has agelong kept its distance, fearing that the tribunal mightiness 1 time question to prosecute American officials, and Russia is besides not a member.

The Biden medication has been engaged successful an interior dispute implicit whether to supply the tribunal with grounds gathered by the U.S. quality assemblage astir Russian warfare crimes. Most of the medication favors transferring the evidence, according to radical acquainted with the interior deliberations, but the Pentagon has balked due to the fact that it does not privation to acceptable a precedent that could pave the mode for eventual prosecutions of Americans.

Human rights groups hailed the warrant arsenic an important measurement toward ending impunity for Russian warfare crimes successful Ukraine, but the likelihood of a proceedings portion Mr. Putin remains successful powerfulness appears slim, due to the fact that the tribunal cannot effort defendants successful absentia and Russia has said it volition not surrender its ain officials.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry rapidly dismissed the warrants, noting that it is not a enactment to the court. Still, the warrant for Mr. Putin’s apprehension deepens his isolation successful the West and could bounds his movements overseas. If helium travels to a authorities that is enactment to the I.C.C., that state indispensable apprehension him, according to its obligations nether planetary law.

“This makes Putin a pariah,” Stephen Rapp, a erstwhile ambassador astatine ample heading the Office of Global Criminal Justice successful the U.S. State Department, said. “If helium travels, helium risks arrest. This ne'er goes away.” And, helium said, Russia cannot summation alleviation from sanctions without complying with the warrants.

“Either Putin is placed connected proceedings successful The Hague,” Mr. Rapp said, oregon “he is progressively isolated, and dies with this hanging implicit his head.”

The tribunal has nary powerfulness to apprehension sitting heads of authorities oregon bring them to trial, and alternatively indispensable trust connected different leaders and governments to enactment arsenic its sheriffs astir the world. A fishy who manages to evade seizure whitethorn ne'er person a proceeding to corroborate the charges.

However, precocious past year, a ineligible determination analyzable the issue. In November, the court’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, petitioned to determination ahead with the confirmation of charges of warfare crimes and crimes against humanity against Joseph Kony, the Ugandan militant and laminitis of the Lord’s Resistance Army, adjacent though helium is not successful custody and has been a fugitive for years. Mr. Kony, who transformed kidnapped children into soldiers, is accused of murder, cruel treatment, enslavement, rape and attacks against civilian population.

Mr. Khan’s petition amounts to a proceedings balloon, to spot whether the tribunal volition hold that charges tin beryllium confirmed adjacent if idiosyncratic is not successful custody. The determination is pending.

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