By: Sanvi Shah & Ethan An June 12, 2023
“I’m scared at night” reveals a young Ukrainian boy, but not because of ghosts or pretend monsters, but because of shattered windows as a result of his deportation by Russia. On March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for both Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of Russia, and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Russia on account of war crimes and unlawful deportation of children. Reports from the United Nations show that both Russian and Ukrainian authorities have said that hundreds of thousands of children have been moved into Russia and are given to Russian families with Russian citizenship after being manipulated by propaganda and claims of how they are unwanted by their parents. While the Russian government refutes such claims, the U.N.’s investigations report how “the transfers were not justified by safety or medical reasons”, and zero effort was made by Russian officials to contact the relatives of the Ukrainian children or any Ukrainian officials. However, it has been noted that Dmitry Peskov, a representative for Vladimir Putin has mentioned that Russia does not recognize the ICC and believes “even posing this question to be itself outrageous and unacceptable”.
While President Vladimir Putin will not be in a cell in The Hague, an international court for justice any time soon, the arrest warrant does hinder his ability to travel to other nations and communicate with other world leaders. For example, countries like Germany and Argentina, signatories of the Rome Statute (established by the International Criminal Court), would be required to turn Putin in to the ICC. However, other nations who have yet to sign the Rome Statute are not obliged to turn President Putin in but could be pressured by the international community. There is little confidence in President Putin ever being arrested as it is unlikely he is going to leave Russia. Bill Bowring, a professor who represented cases against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights discusses how he does not “think there’s any way [Putin is] going to suffer personal consequences.” Further, arresting the leader of Russia, which is one of the nuclear superpowers of the world could have severe repercussions if conflict reached the scale of war.
Although he receives sympathy from countries such as South Africa and India, the arrest charges hope to isolate and weaken Putin's influence on the global standard. There is also the possibility, although unlikely, that the arrest warrant may provide greater chances for Ukraine to join NATO, or at least gain further support from NATO countries.
While President Vladimir Putin has yet to be charged with genocide among other crimes, the arrest warrant for war crimes is a substantial step ahead in possibly charging Russia after further review and research by the International Criminal Court.