On the warrant issued for Putin’s arrest
The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) Initiative welcomes the 17 March decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court to issue a warrant for the arrest of Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova. Grounds for arresting and charging the Russian President and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights (Office of the President of the Russian Federation) are the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children, a war crime under international law. This decision is an exceptional event in international criminal jurisprudence. For the first time the Head of State of a country which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council (and possesses one of the world’s largest arsenals of nuclear weapons) has been charged with a crime.
We are grateful to the prosecutor and judges of the International Criminal Court in the Hague (Netherlands), for their unshakeable devotion to the ideals of international criminal justice. Their decision gives millions of Ukrainians hope that those who brought pain and suffering to their country will inevitably be subject to just and well-deserved punishment.
We call on the International Criminal Court to take the necessary steps to prosecute and punish those who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on Ukrainian soil. The people of Ukraine hope and expect that the perpetrators of other crimes will not pass unnoticed: those who tortured and killed civilians in Bucha, Izium and other Ukrainian towns and villages; those who murdered Ukrainian POWs at Olenivka; those who subjected the country’s critical infrastructure to widespread attack; those who forced Ukraine’s citizens to undergo the humiliating process of filtration; and those representatives of the Russian Federation who committed other crimes in their country.
This historic decision would not have been possible, we may note, without close cooperation between the International Criminal Court, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the Ukrainian authorities, foreign governments, human rights organisations and all people of good will who want to see justice prevail.
The organisations united in the Tribunal for Putin Initiative call on all governments bound by the decision of the International Criminal Court to do everything in their power to support the Court and secure the arrest of Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova.
This decision, in our view, destroys the myth of the politicised and ineffective nature of the International Criminal Court. This myth has often been cited by Ukrainian politicians to justify their refusal to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute. In view of today’s decision the T4P Initiative calls on the Ukrainian authorities to take all necessary steps to ratify the Rome Statute in the nearest future.
The International Criminal Court, let us remind our readers, is the “court of last instance” and it functions on the principle of complementarity, i.e., it only takes on a case when a government is either unwilling or incapable of prosecuting the crime. The primary obligation to prosecute and punish those who have committed a crime lies with the State directly affected. In this respect T4P calls on the law-enforcement agencies, the prosecutor’s office and the courts of Ukraine to continue devoting their maximum efforts to the effective prosecution and punishment of those Russian citizens who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on Ukrainian soil.