The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s children’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, over allegations of war crimes. The charges stem from the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children from Ukraine to Russia. The impact of these warrants on Russia and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is a subject of much debate.
The Inside Story program recently discussed the issue, with presenter Sami Zeidan hosting a panel of experts including Sergei Markov, a former public spokesman for Putin, Toby Cadman, an international human rights lawyer and ICC specialist, and Denis Krivosheev, deputy regional director of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office for Amnesty International.
The panel began by discussing the legal implications of the ICC warrants. Cadman explained that the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine since 2014, when Ukraine ratified the Rome Statute. He added that the ICC prosecutor has been investigating the situation in Ukraine since 2014 and that the issuance of these warrants is a significant development.
Krivosheev noted that the warrants are a positive step towards accountability for crimes committed during the conflict in Ukraine. He also highlighted the importance of holding those responsible for the deportation of children to account, as it is a particularly heinous crime.
Markov, however, took a different view. He argued that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Russia and that the warrants are politically motivated. He also suggested that the charges are part of a wider campaign against Russia by Western powers.
The panel then discussed the potential impact of the warrants on Russia and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Cadman argued that the warrants could have a significant impact on Russia’s international reputation and could lead to further sanctions being imposed. He also suggested that the warrants could make it more difficult for Russia to negotiate a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine.
Krivosheev agreed that the warrants could have an impact on Russia’s international reputation, but he also noted that Russia has been accused of war crimes in Syria and that this has not led to any significant consequences. He suggested that it is unlikely that the warrants will lead to any real change in Russia’s behavior.
Markov was dismissive of the potential impact of the warrants, arguing that they are unlikely to have any real consequences for Russia. He suggested that Russia will continue to act in its own interests regardless of any international pressure.
The panel also discussed the wider implications of the conflict in Ukraine and the role of international law in resolving such conflicts. Cadman argued that international law has an important role to play in resolving conflicts and holding those responsible for war crimes to account. He suggested that the ICC warrants are an important step towards this goal.
Krivosheev agreed that international law is important, but he also noted that it is often difficult to enforce. He suggested that more needs to be done to ensure that international law is respected and enforced.
Markov, however, was critical of international law, arguing that it is often used as a tool by Western powers to advance their own interests. He suggested that international law is not always fair or impartial and that it is often used to target countries like Russia.
In conclusion, the panel agreed that the ICC warrants for Putin and Lvova-Belova are a significant development in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. While there is debate about their potential impact on Russia and the conflict itself, there is consensus that they represent an important step towards accountability for war crimes committed during the conflict. The discussion also highlighted the wider issues around international law and its role in resolving conflicts and holding those responsible for war crimes to account.