Charges Against President Putin of Russia fixed by ICC

  • ICC has held him responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) and unlawful transfer of the population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation for violation of the Rome Statute.
  • These children were taken away from orphanages and childcare homes. Many of these children have been given for adoption in Russian Federation. Law was changed in Russia, by Presidential decrees by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian citizenship.
  • The war crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory by Russian Forces on 24 February 2022.
  • While not a United Nations organization, the Court has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations. When a situation is not within the Court’s jurisdiction, the United Nations Security Council can refer the situation to the ICC granting it jurisdiction.

About International Criminal Court

  • International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and where warranted tries individuals charged with gravest crimes of concern to international community, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crime of aggression.
  • ICC came into existence by the Rome Statute which established ICC as the world’s first permanent international criminal court.
  • ICC aims to end impunity through international criminal justice, holds those responsible accountable for their crimes and helps prevent these crimes from happening again.
  • As a court of last resort, ICC seeks to complement, not replace, national courts.
  • The seat of ICC is in the Hague, Netherlands.

Rome Statute grants ICC jurisdiction over four main cases:

  1. Crime of Genocide: Characterised by specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by others means; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life to bring about its physical destruction; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
  2. Crimes against humanity: These crimes constitute serious violations committed as part of large-scale attach against any civilian population. 15 forms of crimes against humanity listed in Rome Statute include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement – particularly of women and children, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.
  3. War crimes: They are grave breaches of Geneva conventions in context of armed conflict and include, for ex., use of child soldiers, killing of torture of persons such as civilians or prisoners of war; intentionally directing attacks against hospitals, historic monuments, or buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes.
  4. Crime of aggression: These consists of armed force by a State against sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State. The definition of this crime was adopted through amending the Rome Statute in 2010.

Geneva Conventions

Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war. They protect people who do not take part in the fighting and those who can no longer fight.

  • First Geneva Convention: Protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • Second Geneva Convention: Protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • Third Geneva Convention: Applies to prisoner of war.
  • Fourth Geneva Convention: Affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.
  • Common Article 3: Covers situations of non-international armed conflicts like traditional civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill over into other States or internal conflicts in which third States or a multinational force intervenes alongside the government.

Additional Protocols to Geneva Conventions

  • Additional Protocol I: Strengthen the protection of victims of international armed conflicts.
  • Additional Protocol II: Strengthen the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts.
  • Additional Protocol III: Created an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.

Jurisdiction with respect to State Parties

  1. 123 countries are State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Out of them 33 are African States, 19 are Asia-Pacific States, 18 are from Eastern Europe, 28 are from Latin America and Caribbean and 25 from Western Europe and other States.
  2. ICC has jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of this Statute. ICC may exercise jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of Rome Statute for that State, unless that State has made a declaration.
  3. A State which becomes a Party to Rome Statute accepts jurisdiction of ICC with respect to crimes listed above.
  4. ICC may exercise its jurisdiction if one or more of the following States are Parties to this Statute or have accepted the jurisdiction of ICC:
    1. State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred or, if the crime was committed on board a vessel or aircraft, the State of registration of that vessel or aircraft.
    1. State of which the person accused of the crime is a national.
  5. Acceptance of a State which is not a party to ICC: A State may by declaration lodged with Registrar accept the jurisdiction of ICC with respect to the crime in question. (Ukraine was a not a State Party to ICC. However, Ukraine has accepted jurisdiction of ICC throughout the territory of Ukraine from 20th February 2014 onwards.)

Jurisdiction of ICC

ICC exercises jurisdiction in a situation of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes committed on or after 1st July 2002 and:

  1. Crimes were committed by a State Party National, in the territory of a State Party or in a State that has accepted the jurisdiction of ICC. (Since in the present case, the alleged crimes were committed in the territory of Ukraine which is not a State party but has accepted the jurisdiction of ICC, hence ICC has jurisdiction in the present case, despite Russia not being a party to ICC).
  2. Crimes were referred to ICC Prosecutor by the UN Security Council (UNSC) under a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of UN Charter.

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