A prominent Ukrainian lawyer said the arrest warrant issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin is the International Criminal Court’s “first shot” in what could be a major indictment against him.
The Hague-based IGG accused Mr. Putin Being responsible for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.
An arrest warrant was also issued for Maria Alekseevna Lvova Belova, RussiaChildren’s Commissioner, on similar allegations of war crimes.
Speaking to Sky News, the Ukrainian government’s chief lawyer, Ben Emmerson, said he believed there were two reasons why the arrest warrant for Putin was out now.
The immediate timing, he said, appears to have been the decision by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva to “publish a report detailing what judges believe to be Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine – including allegations of the forcible transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia as a war crime.”
Another dimension to the timing of the arrest warrant, Emerson said, is that “sometimes when indictments come out, they are sealed.”
“In other words, it has not been made public. But increasingly, we have seen indictments issued against leaders during the ongoing conflict that occurred in relation to the indictment against General Gaddafi, for example, during the Libyan uprising.”
Putin is in danger of being held accountable
He said it must be recognized that the issuance of an indictment against a head of state in the midst of an armed conflict “affects to some extent the behavior or aims to influence the behavior of those involved”.
“In other words, this is clearly the first shot in what may ultimately be a more substantial indictment against President Putin,” said Emerson.
He went on to say that he believed the main goal was to make Putin and those around him realize “the very real danger of criminal accountability in due course”.
On whether he thought the narrow charges were a strategic move by the ICC, he said Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor at the ICC, made it clear in his role that he intended to act “not on a political basis, but on the basis of prosecutable cases.”
“In other words, he would select cases that he was most confident could be won and win them with the support of evidence,” said Emerson.
The Russian leadership is taking “abnormal and aggressive moves”
Emerson suspects that the reason this particular charge was chosen in the indictment against Mr. Putin is because “the establishment of his responsibility for this, and indeed that of the Children’s Commissioner, is straightforward.”
Asked whether the arrest warrant could provide some kind of hope for Ukrainian families returning their children, Mr Emerson said he was always skeptical because “the only thing that seems reasonably clear is that [Russian authorities] It is often unexpected.”
“But having said that, these children were taken illegally and in breach of humanitarian law. They were actually kidnapped. This isn’t the first time Russia has done this – it did it during the 2014 war in Donbass.”
He added, “When the state of chaos is what it is now, and the Russian forces and authorities, and even the Russian leadership, act increasingly with irregular and aggressive steps, everything remains unpredictable.”
It is clear that Putin committed war crimes
The arrest warrant comes after the US president Joe Biden a description The ICC’s decision to issue it as “justified”.
The Kremlin said Russia, which does not recognize the ICC, found the questions raised by the court “outrageous and unacceptable”.
“Child kidnapper” of Putin and other fugitives wanted by the International Criminal Court
Vladimir Putin visits Crimea on the anniversary of the annexation of the region from Ukraine
But Biden, speaking at a press conference on Friday, said: “It is [Putin] It is clear that they committed war crimes.
“I think it’s justified [the warrant]. But the question is – they are not internationally recognized by us either. But I think that is a very strong point.”
Although both Russia and the United States were signatories to the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the International Criminal Court – the United States never ratified the agreement, while Russia withdrew after criticizing the court for its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Besides the ICC arrest warrant, the US has separately concluded that Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine.
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“There is no doubt that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities [in] “Ukraine and we were clear that those responsible must be held accountable,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.
Russia said the ICC’s arrest warrants were “null and void” because it did not recognize the court.
Meanwhile, Ms. Lvova Belova said her arrest warrant confirms her work to “help the children of our country.”
The allegations come as Russia prepares to mark the ninth anniversary of its 2014 annexation of Crimea, which Putin is expected to celebrate with a “patriotic” rally at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium this weekend.