Putin’s arrest warrant described as “hugely significant”

Shane Darcy, a professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University of Galway has described the ICC’s arrest warrant of Vladimir Putin  as being “hugely significant”.

Professor Darcy explained that it is the first time a head of state from the UN Security Council has been issued a warrant by the ICC, and the first time someone has been issued an international warrant for the forced deportation of children.

The court issued the warrant on 17 March 2023 for his alleged role in the “unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

Maria Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Russia was also issued an arrest warrant for her role in this alleged war crime.

In Russia however, the validity of the warrant bears no weight, as Russia never signed the Rome Statute, and it does not recognise the authority of the ICC.

The ICC also has no physical force to conduct arrests, as it depends on the cooperation of its signatories to hand over wanted individuals.

The significance of the warrant means that Putin cannot step foot in the 123 countries that recognise the ICC without facing arrest and transportation to the Hague.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the announcement by the ICC, claiming it would lead to “historic accountability”.

Stephen Rapp, the former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes stated that the arrest warrant will always hang over Putin, saying that “if he travels he risks arrest”.

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