The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he may never stand trial for his alleged crimes, according to materials published by the court.
“This is probably the biggest action the International Criminal Court has ever taken,” Steven Groves, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who focuses on international law, told Fox News Digital.
,[The court] Heads of state like al-Bashir have been indicted before, but that’s Sudan. This is Russia,” Groves insisted. “The reality of the situation is that Putin will never change himself and Russia will not change Putin.”
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, as well as for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation.
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The court declared that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that each of the suspects is responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of the population and illegal transfer of the population from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, at the prejudice of Ukrainian children.” “
Watchdog groups acknowledged the warrant as a powerful statement, but the ICC’s own material noted that it only holds judicial power and relies on member states to comply with requests to turn over suspects.
A handbook on “arresting ICC suspects at large” states that 15 individuals with outstanding arrest warrants remain at large, and that the court has seen at least four arrest warrants expire because they were executed by authorities. The suspect had died before being captured.
The ICC largely operates within the authority of the Rome Statute of 1998, which not all countries adhere to or recognize, including the US, Russia and China. Many other states – about 123 in total – including G20 and G8 members are member states, and this is where Putin may feel the greatest influence.
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Groves said, “When Putin travels the real rubber meets the road, because when Putin travels to another country that is a party to the Rome Statute, that party has a legal obligation to abide by the treaty. ”
“It doesn’t matter if Russia travels to, say, China or any other country that is not a member of the ICC,” he explained. “But let’s say there’s a G-20 meeting in Japan, for example, or any other country that’s a party to this treaty and takes its obligations seriously … they’ll use the treaty to help anticipate shall be bound under the terms in respect of any person who has been charged and is subject to a warrant of arrest.”
Groves said his main takeaway from the ICC arrest warrant is that it will likely limit Putin’s participation in G20 and G8 proceedings and similar international bodies. Countries such as Japan, Canada and Turkey are member states of the statute.
But the warrant comes with a risk that it could demonstrate the ICC lacks authority or power and relies too heavily on other countries’ treaties or obligations to hold Putin.
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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected the arrest warrant, saying “the decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view.”
Groves suggested that Interpol might need to issue a Red Letter notice to help bring Putin to justice, but the group has not yet announced its intention to issue a warrant and declined to comment on the subject at the time. Fox News Digital did not respond to a request for comment. of publication.
And ultimately the power to impose any additional sanctions against Russia rests with individual nations or the UN Security Council—the latter likely proving ineffective because Russia, as a permanent member of the council, has veto power, Groves said. Said.
“The bottom line for me is that if the international community wants true accountability for war crimes, they should look to ensure that Ukraine has the ability to host war crimes trials on its soil and that they are given the same amount of attention as the Russian military.” Members who meet, Groves said, could land on the battlefield under arrest and trial for war crimes.
Advocacy group Human Rights Watch applauded the announcement, saying it was “a clear message” and “a wakeup call for others” that “their day in court is coming, regardless of their rank or status.”
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“This is a big day for the many victims of crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine since 2014,” Balkis Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in a statement to Fox News Digital. “With these arrest warrants, the ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step in ending the impunity that has long encouraged perpetrators of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
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