At the end of last week, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The several days that passed since then showed that this is an event with big potential to change the state of affairs both in the case of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and in the case of the two belligerent states taken separately, in the region in which the Republic of Moldova is situated and on the European continent in general. The essence of this event and its possible effects on the several dimensions were the main issues discussed in IPN’s public debate “Arrest warrant for Putin: effects for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Europe”.
According to the permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan, the International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). This statute was adopted in a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998 and took effect on July 1, 2002.
“The International Criminal Court was established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The given crimes have no statute of limitations and this is very important. As the Court’s competence covers private individuals only, not states, it can investigate and prosecute persons for the four types of crimes only when the states are unable to do this or intentionally opposes doing it,” noted Igor Boțan.
According to the expert, the ICC may prosecute crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes when the allegedly responsible individuals are nationals of one of the States parties to the Rome Statute or the crime was committed on the territory of a State Party, or the State involved submits a declaration authorizing the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to the alleged crime. “However, the Rome Statute stipulates exceptions and Ukraine was this way able to go to this Court. And not only Ukraine, but also another 39 states that signed and ratified the Rome Statute. This way, the process was launched and is absolutely legal and legitimate,” stated Igor Boțan.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Moldova Marko Shevchenko said the arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin refers to cases of kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children from the territories occupied by the Russian Federation during the war against Ukraine.
“The crimes are huge. The proofs collected by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine are many in number. We have case files concerning 16,000 chidlren kidnapped from their parents. These files were submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and the decision was taken based on them,” stated the diplomat.
According to Marko Shevchenko, this warrant refers to the kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children, but not only to this. The deportation of children could be proven easier as there is sufficient evidence for taking such decisions. More arrest warrants should be yet issued. Other crimes and atrocities committed in Ukraine also remain in the focus of the International Criminal Court.
The public debate entitled “Arrest warrant for Putin: effects for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Europe?” was the 278th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.