Editor’s note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor for CNN, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a columnist for the World Politics Review. The opinions expressed in this comment belong solely to its author. See more comments on CNN.
(CNN) — When the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Friday that arrest warrants issued against the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and another senior government official on charges related to an alleged plan to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, put Putin’s name on a shortlist alongside some of the most brutal leaders the world has seen since the end of the world . War II. In doing so, he branded him in front of the whole world, including the people of Russia, as an international pariah, possibly guilty of historically terrible crimes.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the ICC’s decision “arbitrary and unacceptable”, calling the orders “null and void” for Russia. But there is no doubt that this is a historic blow to Putin’s reputation, not just that of modern Russia.
Only three heads of state have faced ICC indictment during their tenure. The IS two others The late leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, and the former president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, were both accused of terrible crimes against their own people.
Russia is not Libya or Sudan, both poor developing nations barely emerging from colonial rule.
Russia is one of the countries that helped defeat Hitler’s Germany in World War II. It is a proud nation that emerged from world war, and later communism, with vast natural resourcesa highly educated population and the drive to become a flourishing democracy. He faced many challenges, but he had a bright future.
Then came Putin handpicked by his predecessor Boris Yeltsin and then a president was elected more than 20 years ago, a dismantling democracy block by block, entrenching his grip on power and crushing the democratic aspirations the country even before launching its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Putin is now a war criminal, if not convicted. According to most sources, he has the support of most Russians. Perhaps this will give some of them reason to reconsider. But one day the Russian people will look beyond the propaganda with which he was given life and he will understand the horror that was done in his name.
It is almost impossible for Putin to face the ICC court in The Hague anytime soon. As Peskov reiterated in his statement, Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, and as long as Putin is president, he will likely remain at large. But unless he stands up in court and somehow manages to clear his name, an extremely unlikely outcome, he will forever bear the mark of an accused war criminal.
Putin, along with Maria Lvova-Belova, his “Commissioner for the Rights of the Child”, is now indicted for violating the laws of war by forcibly taking Ukrainian children and deporting them to Russia. In the words of the ICC, they are “allegedly responsible for a war crime illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine” The arrest warrant states that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin has individual criminal responsibility for the crimes mentioned”.
At the moment, the ICC is focused on only one aspect of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, albeit a horrifically brutal one. Russia is allegedly taking children out of Ukraine and placing them in resettlement camps within Russia and in Russian homes. Lvova-Belova played a decisive role in the implementation of this policy, which is not done in secret. Indeed, public thanks to Putin which would allow her to personally adopt a child from Donbas, a part of Ukraine occupied by Russia.
The Russian government claims that the whole thing is practically a humanitarian measure, aimed at saving Ukrainian children in a war zone. The ICC says it is a violation of the The Geneva Conventions. ICC prosecutors, Ukrainian authorities and groups working to track down the children say it is part of a concerted effort by Putin to destroy Ukrainian nationality. US and European officials say children are spending time in a network of multiple fields where they are politically re-educated, in an attempt to make them Russian citizens.
Parents Ukraine they try desperately get your kids back.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan said the actions alleged in the warrant “reveal the intent to permanently expelled these children from their own country.
These are just the first two arrest warrants for one aspect of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Khan’s office he demanded that they are looking for more suspects and will issue more arrest warrants, if the evidence warrants it.
There are good reasons to expect more. Ukrainian officials and various organizations to be thorough documentation which they consider to be war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the hope that there will be an account at last.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the news. In his late-night address to the nation on Friday, he called the ICC’s decision “a historic decision leading to historical responsibility”.
Zelensky says Ukraine has registered 16,000 individual cases of forced deportation of children, but the total number, he said, is likely much higher. “Such a criminal operation,” he declared, “would be impossible without the order of the top leader of the terrorist state.
By this he meant Putin.
Putin’s ability to travel is now very restricted, since more than 120 signatory countries to the Rome Statute creating the ICC are now obliged to stop it if it steps on their territory. ICC President, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, said that countries “force to execute arrest warrants issued by the court.
Putin might think he was unstoppable; that would never end in The Hague. just a little warmongers gallery Monsters considered by many of their towns and neighbors, they went from feeling perfectly safe in their palaces to to face court of The Hague after losing power at home.
Whether or not Putin is impeached, his place in history is now assured on the darkest pages of genocide and bad governance.