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ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over ‘war crimes’

  • Published
    18th Mar, 2023

In a latest development, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for ‘war crimes’ committed in Ukraine.

What are war crimes?

Crime of Aggression

The crime of aggression is broadly defined as the invasion of, or attempt to gain political and military control over, another sovereign state. While the ICC is the world's permanent war crimes court, it cannot prosecute aggression.

  • War crimes are crimes that come under the collective name of 'core international crimes'.
  • As per the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, when it comes to war crimes, the court has jurisdiction when the crime is committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes. 
  • For the purpose of this statute, 'war crimes' means grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.
  • Violation as per the above statute includes:
    • wilful killing
    • torture or inhuman treatment (including biological experiments)
    • wilfully causing great suffering (or serious injury to body or health)
    • extensive destruction and appropriation of property
    • compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces
    • wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial
    • unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement, taking of hostages

About International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court.
  • It is governed by an international treaty called 'The Rome Statute'.
  • ICC is not a UN organization but is has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, the Netherlands.
  • Jurisdiction: The Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:
    • The crime of Genocide
    • Crimes against Humanity
    • War crimes
    • Crime of Aggression
  • Membership: Most countries on Earth – 123 of them – are parties to the treaty, but there are very large and notable exceptions, including Russia, India and the US. And, for that matter, Ukraine.
  • Ukraine also is not a member of the international court, but it has granted it jurisdiction over its territory 

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