A war crimes warrant against Putin could make peace in Ukraine more difficult

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An international arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin raises the prospect that the man who invaded Ukraine will face justice, but it complicates efforts to end the war through peace talks.

Both justice and peace seem distant possibilities today, and the conflicting relationship between the two is at the heart of the International Criminal Court’s March 17 decision to arrest the Russian leader.

The Hague judges found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin and his children’s rights commissioner were responsible for war crimes, particularly the illegal deportation and illegal transfer of children from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.

As unlikely as Putin seems in a courtroom in The Hague, other leaders have faced justice in international courts.

Former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, who was the driving force behind the Balkan wars of the 1990s, went on trial for war crimes, including genocide, at the UN tribunal in The Hague after he lost power. He died in his cell in 2006 before he could be sentenced.

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Serbia, which wants to join the European Union but has close ties with Russia, is among the countries that criticized the ICC’s move. The arrest warrants will have “bad political consequences” and “create a great reluctance to talk about peace (and) a ceasefire” in Ukraine, said populist Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.

Others see consequences for Putin and those found guilty of war crimes as the primary desirable outcome of international action.

“There is no escape for the perpetrator and his henchmen,” European Union leader Ursula von der Leyen said Friday in a speech marking the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, the site of the worst atrocities. the war. “War criminals will be held accountable for their actions.”

Hungary did not join the other 26 EU members in signing the resolution supporting the ICC order against Putin. Gergely Gulyás, the head of the government’s cabinet, said that the Hungarian authorities will not arrest Putin if he enters the country.

He called the orders “not the most fortunate” because they lead to escalation, not peace.

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Putin appears to be firmly in power, and some analysts suspect that the arrest warrant hanging over him could encourage the fighting to continue.

“An arrest warrant against Putin could undermine efforts to reach a peace deal in Ukraine,” Daniel Krcmaric, an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, said in an email to The Associated Press.

One possible way to facilitate peace talks could be for the UN Security Council to call on the International Criminal Court to suspend the investigation into Ukraine for a year, which is made possible by Article 16 of the Rome Statute treaty that established the court.

But that seems unlikely, said Krcmaric, whose book “The Dilemma of Justice” deals with the tension between seeking justice and ending conflicts through negotiation.

“Western democracies should be concerned about the public cost of making the morally questionable decision to trade justice for peace,” he said, adding that Ukraine was unlikely to support such a move.

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Russia immediately rejected the orders. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow does not recognize the ICC and considers its decisions “legally null and void.” And Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of the Russian Security Council chaired by Putin, suggested that the ICC’s Dutch coastal center could become the target of a Russian missile attack.

Alexander Baunov, an analyst at the Carnegie Foundation, noted in a commentary that Putin’s arrest warrant is “a call to the Russian elite to abandon Putin,” which could undermine their support.

While welcoming the order by Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, human rights groups also urged the international community not to forget justice in other conflicts.

Balkees Jarrah, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The ICC’s order against Putin reflects an evolving and multifaceted justice effort. “Similar justice initiatives are needed elsewhere to ensure that victims’ rights are respected around the world, whether in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar or Palestine.”


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Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/war-crimes-warrant-putin-complicate-ukraine-peace-98298460