Project SyndicateProject Syndicate

How to prosecute Putin

By Gordon Brown

10 Apr 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin over war crime allegations isn’t enough, argues PS. Here, it explains why a crime of aggression prosecution would be more straightforward.

A few weeks ago, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. It is a significant – indeed, historic – step toward holding Putin and his henchmen accountable for their crimes in Ukraine. But more must be done.

Evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukraine – including murder, rape, torture, and attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure, and other non-military targets – continues to accumulate. Just last month, a United Nations-backed inquiry published a report accusing Russia of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. While the ICC indictment is unlikely to be the only legal action brought against Putin and his cronies, it is the first. The ICC prosecutor has ensured that Putin will go down in history as the first leader of a permanent member of the UN Security Council to be indicted for an international crime.

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