Joe Biden welcomes the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

US President Joe Biden has defended the International Criminal Court’s decision to arrest Vladimir Putin for his role in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children, saying it was “justified”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was among other international leaders to welcome the decision, saying on Saturday that it showed “no one is above the law”.

Thousands of Ukrainian children were forcibly deported to Russia, where many were adopted by Russian families. It is just one of many crimes, including torture and the deliberate targeting of civilians, for which Ukraine wants to hold Russian soldiers and politicians accountable.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky hailed it as a historic decision, “from which historical responsibility will begin.”

A trial is unlikely to lead to a trial. Putin cannot be tried in absentia and can only be arrested if he travels to one of the 123 member states of the ICC. Russia, Putin’s key ally China and the United States have all refused to become members.

Joe Biden says the decision to arrest Vladimir Putin is justified

Biden acknowledged that, even as he said the warrant was a “very strong point.”

This is the first case when the court issues an arrest warrant against the head of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The court, which is responsible for investigating the most serious violations in decades, will designate Putin as a suspected war criminal for the rest of his life. That puts him in the same company as notorious figures such as former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir.

As Moscow seeks to drum up support for its war or neutralize support for Ukraine among countries in the Global South, it will potentially restrict his travel. However, ICC member states are not required to issue arrest warrants and have refused to do so in the past.

Joe Biden was photographed walking out the door of the White House in a suit and tie
Joe Biden said the warrant was a “very strong point.” Photo: Rex/Shutterstock

The order, along with Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, also sends a strong message to senior Russian military and civilian officials who play a role in the war.

It is now clear that they can be held accountable for what they have done by lawyers who are closely following events in Ukraine. Even if Putin’s government protects them at home, at least their travel could be severely restricted if they appear in future warrants.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labor Party in Great Britain, said that the decision was an important message. “There will be no hiding place for Putin and his cronies, and the world is determined to make them pay for what they have done.”

He also suggested that more safeguards would follow. “These cases are only the tip of the iceberg.”

Russia has denied committing atrocities, and the arrest warrant was met with predictable outrage in Moscow. Pro-Putin figures cited this as evidence that Washington is seeking regime change in the country, even though the US is not a member of the ICC.

“Yankees, hands off Putin.” Parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who is a close ally of the president, wrote on Telegram: “We consider any attack on the President of the Russian Federation as aggression against our country.”

The order is likely to strengthen the position of pro-war Russian hardliners, who sought to portray the invasion of Ukraine as an existential struggle for national survival.

“All pro-Western liberal forces who sought compromise with the West will be fired,” writes Sergei Markov, a pro-Putin political analyst and former Kremlin adviser.

“Kremlin’s only way can be a military victory.”

The Russian opposition, which has largely fled abroad since the start of the war, welcomed Friday’s announcement.

“Yes, it is a symbolic step. But what’s important,” says Leonid Volkov, a close ally of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

And while Putin’s opponents acknowledged the decree would make little difference to the Russian leader’s status, they hailed the decision as an appropriate response to his alleged role in child abductions.

“Now Putin is truly an international rogue,” said Ivan Pavlov, a prominent Russian lawyer. Watcher.

“I rule out that the deportation of Ukrainian children was carried out without his knowledge, without his consent and without his order.”

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