© Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev, visits a children’s arts and aesthetic centre in Sevastopol, Crimea March 18, 2023. Sputnik/Russian Presidential Press Office/Kremlin via REUTERS
By Anthony Deutsch and Stephanie van den Berg
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin may not see the inside of a cell in The Hague any time soon, but his war crimes arrest warrant could hurt his ability to travel freely and meet other world leaders, who may feel less inclined to speak to a wanted man.
Putin is just the third head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court while still in power. Following is a look at what the consequences could be for the Kremlin leader.
WHAT IS THE CASE?
The ICC accuses Putin of responsibility for the war crime of deporting Ukrainian children – at least hundreds, possibly more – to Russia.
The Kremlin was quick to dismiss the allegations and the Russian foreign minister said ICC decisions “have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view.”
The ICC’s 123 member states are obliged to detain and transfer Putin if he sets foot on their territory. Russia is not a member and neither are China, the United States or India, which is hosting a summit later this year of leaders of the G20 group of big economies, which includes Russia.
The world’s permanent war crimes court was created by the Rome Statute, a treaty ratified by all the EU states, as well as Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, 33 African countries and 19 nations in the South Pacific.
Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but withdrew its backing in 2016, after the ICC classified Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula as an armed conflict.
“Putin is not stupid. He’s not going to travel abroad to a country where he might be arrested,” said assistant professor of history at the Utrecht University Iva Vukusic.
“He is not going to be able to travel pretty much anywhere else beyond the countries that are either clearly allies or at least somewhat aligned (with) Russia,” Vukusic said.
ICC’S PAST EXPERIENCE
Sudan’s former president Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi are the only other leaders to have been indicted by the ICC while serving as head of state. Charges against Gaddafi were terminated after he was overthrown and killed in 2011.
Bashir, indicted in 2009 for genocide in Darfur, remained in office for another…
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