Vladimir Putin: War Criminal?

Vladimir Putin: War Criminal?

Vladimir Putin: War Criminal?

Russian president Vladimir Putin is a tyrant and warmonger. Now add to that “war criminal,” according to the International Criminal Court. The court even issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday.

Well, good luck with that.

So was it the invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation? Or perhaps the intentional bombing of civilian targets? The murder of civilians, perhaps?

No, it’s because Putin has been taking and deporting Ukrainian children to Russia, something I wrote about in January. The ICC also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, ironically the Russian commissioner of “children’s rights.” Apparently Ukrainian children don’t count as deserving of Lvova-Belova’s extension of rights.

It’s not like the Russians have denied taking children, either; they’ve has acknowledged transferring 2000 Ukrainian children to Mother Russia. The Ukrainians, however, claim it’s more like 16,000, according to a website “Children of War.” But even that website provides this disclaimer: “It is impossible to establish the exact number of injured children due to active hostilities and the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine.”

Philippe Sands, director of the Center on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, said that Putin may eventually be charged with other crimes, too:

We don’t know what the full application was. We don’t know whether the prosecutor wanted an arrest warrant for other crimes.

No doubt there will be many questions about why this particular crime and why the decision to make this public now.

What does this mean for Vladimir Putin? Not much, apparently.


Putin Response: Pound Sand

Maria Zakharova, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, brushed off the arrest warrant.

The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no significance for our country, including from the legal point of view. Russia is not a participant of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and has no obligations under it. Russia is not cooperating with this body, and possible arrest ‘prescriptions’ coming from the International Court of Justice will be legally null and void for us.

The ICC may be correct in its moral stance, but it can’t enforce anything, since it has no power to arrest or bring to trial any person. Instead, it must rely upon other leaders and governments. And the ICC can’t count on the United States to do its work, since the US does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.

So Putin can rest easy in his bed at night, knowing that he won’t be manacled and frog-marched into a courtroom in the Hague.



Writer “streiff,” a former infantry officer who has been closely documenting the war in Ukraine for Red State, acknowledges that the ICC won’t be able to do anything:

The ICC has no police force. It cannot compel nations to execute the arrest warrant. So, like fellow ICC-indicted war criminal and head of state, Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Putin will be free to travel to any place that doesn’t mind the stench.

But he adds:

More significant will be the political fallout. Putin’s status as an indicted war criminal will affect his ability to deal with other heads of state. Making it worse, he’s not indicted for run-of-the-mill atrocities. Instead, by charging him with kidnapping kids, he’s basically been labeled a pedophile masquerading as a head of state.

Any claim Putin could ever lay to a world leadership role is effectively finished. It is also tough to imagine anyone trying to broker a peace deal with someone indicted by the ICC.

But look who will be visiting Vladimir Putin next week.

None other than Chinese president Xi Jinping. He’s meeting with Putin with the intent of deepening the partnership between the two countries. The two also plan to sign “important” bilateral documents.

No surprise there. Both Vladimir Putin and Xi are brothers from another mother: despots who have no qualms about committing genocide upon populations whom they want to annihilate.


Featured image: Vassilis Jgs/flickr.

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Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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