The Hague, March 18
The International Criminal Court said on Friday that it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.
It was the first time the global court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The ICC said in a statement that Putin "is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation".
The move was immediately dismissed by Moscow—and welcomed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough.
Its practical implications, however, could be limited as the chances of Putin facing trial at the ICC are highly unlikely because Moscow does not recognise the court's jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.
But the moral condemnation will likely stain the Russian leader for the rest of his life—and in the more immediate future whenever he seeks to attend an international summit in a nation bound to arrest him.
"So Putin might go to China, Syria, Iran, his ... few allies, but he just won't travel to the rest of the world and won't travel to ICC member states who he believes would ... arrest him," said Adil Ahmad Haque, an expert in international law and armed conflict at Rutgers University.
Others agreed. "Vladimir Putin will forever be marked as a pariah globally. He has lost all his political credibility around the world. Any world leader who stands by him will be shamed as well," David Crane, a former international prosecutor, told The Associated Press.
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