Arrest warrant against Putin: what will the consequences be?
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. They have been charged with committing war crimes with the policy of forcibly relocating children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Europe’s press looks at the consequences.
A clear statement instead of euphemisms
“It’s important to finally call things by their real name in this war. Crimes. Crimes and not collateral damage or other indefensible euphemisms. This is being done now with the formulation of a precise indictment and the issue of arrest warrants. True, these will not be recognised by every state in the world community, because some do not recognise the institution and authority of the ICC, including in particular Russia, the US and China. ... Nevertheless, these formal decisions prevent us all from closing our eyes. They speak plain language.”
Few direct consequences
Ukrainska Pravda doubts that the arrest warrant will have any practical impact on Putin’s freedom to travel:
“Firstly, Putin hasn’t travelled abroad for a long time except to visit his closest allies. ... Secondly, the 123 states are a large majority, but not all the states in the world. Almost all states in Asia and North Africa, for example, do not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC. ... And the US is not a party to it either, so Putin could fly there if necessary without the threat of being arrested on the basis of a warrant from The Hague.”
Milošević wasn’t immediately arrested either
Who knows what practical relevance the decision might yet acquire, Rzeczpospolita speculates:
“This historic decision has primarily symbolic significance. The Hague is saying to the criminals: You can’t sleep peacefully, don’t feel safe! ... Admittedly, Russia is not a party to the treaty, and at the moment neither Putin nor Lvova-Belova have any intention of leaving the country. But life brings all kinds of surprises. Slobodan Milošević and Radovan Karadžić weren’t arrested straight away either.”
President becoming a risk for Russian elite
Moscow history professor Valery Solovei sees the chances of a palace revolt against Putin growing. In a Facebook post he comments:
“The arrest warrant issued in The Hague is an important signal to the Russian elite. Instead of being a guarantor of wealth and power Putin is increasingly becoming a toxic asset that should be disposed of at the earliest opportunity — otherwise more names could appear in the files of the international courts. The majority of Russia’s elite reacts to this with nothing more than impotent grumbling and a public show of solidarity with the leader. But among them there are also groups that are capable of decisive action. And the likelihood of such action is now growing.”