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Wanted: Vladimir Putin

By Antara Haldar

31 Mar 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The ICC's indictment of Vladimir Putin shouldn't be seen as merely symbolic, Antara Haldar writes in PS. It signals a decisive shift both in the Ukraine conflict and in international law.

LONDON – The internet has recently been flooded with AI-generated images of Russian President Vladimir Putin being put on trial or incarcerated. But while the images are fake, international criminal justice is becoming a reality. On March 17, after years of being mired in controversy and crisis, the International Criminal Court surprised the world by formally indicting Putin and issuing a warrant for his arrest.

The ICC’s specific charge – that Putin is responsible for the unlawful abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, in violation of both the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions – addresses only a fraction of the offenses he has committed. Putin and his inner circle are morally, and probably legally, responsible for countless war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of genocide. Yet, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky observed, the warrant represents “a historic decision,” not because it guarantees an arrest or trial, but because it sets a new precedent.

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