Putin will escape The Hague as ICC not 'truly global body' with likes of US not signed up

Professor Galeotti, who wrote the 2022 book Putin’s Wars, said it is far easier for smaller nations to join the ICC as it is unlikely that they would be involved in any major conflict.

Several countries are not in the ICC such as China, India, Russia and the United States — all big global players.

Russia does not recognise the court because while it signed the founding treaty — the Rome Statue in 2000 — it never ratified it.

Experts such as Professor Galeotti say that while Putin’s arrest warrant is important and indicative of global opinion on the war in Ukraine, in material terms, it means very little.

He said: “The bottom line is if you’re the kind of power that thinks it might engage itself in wars then you’re less likely frankly to want to be part of the ICC.

“I’m not criticising it but now the concept of what is a war crime has become much broader. The truth of the matter is that wars are, by definition, nasty, messy things.”

Although Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Croatia have all said they would arrest Putin in the unlikely event he visited their countries, the likes of Hungary and South Africa have cast doubts.

Russia formally withdrew from the court in 2016 after it published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea, which took place in 2014, as an occupation.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, reiterated the opinion that the arrest warrant is pointless, as he said: “The jurisdiction of this court and, consequently, any such decision is void for Russia from a legal point of view.”

Although Professor Galeotti said issuing the warrant was significant in that it sends a powerful statement on the notions of what is acceptable practice while also “embarrassing” Putin, ultimately the Russian President will not find himself in the Hague before a judge any time soon.

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He continued: “Frankly, the idea that wars can be pursued without civilians being targeted is naive.

“Americans have a tendency not to want to subordinate themselves to other people’s notions of what is right and what is lawful.

“Everyone has different reasons for not being in the ICC. In this respect, though, it’s a lot easier to sign up for something like the ICC statutes if you’re a small country unlikely to be involved in any kind of major conflict.

“America being a superpower clearly has a rather different perspective and experience.”

But the fact that Putin will not be handed over to the Hague, Professor Galeotti explained, is evidence that the ICC is “not a truly global body”.

He believes that powerful countries who think they may at some point in the future find themselves engaged in war are far less likely to become a member of the ICC.

According to the think tank Heritage Foundation, the US is not in the ICC because it would be unconstitutional as it would allow the ICC to call for trials of American citizens for crimes committed in the US, which are otherwise entirely within the judicial power of the United States.

Professor Galeotti pointed towards the allegation that 54 Afghans were killed by the SAS unit in the Helmand province in 2010 and 2011, and how this amounted to war crimes.

source: express.co.uk