How Vladimir Putin might one day stand trial for war crimes | World News

If the ICC issues an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, how likely is he to appear?

A few weeks ago, I sat down with the President at the State Department joe bidenGlobal Ambassador for Criminal Justice.

Beth Van Schaack was the woman assigned by the president to hunt down the Russian leader.

I asked her, “A lot of people would think it’s incredible vladimir putin May stand trial for war crimes. How important is the pursuit of justice, no matter how unlikely the odds? “

Ukraine war latest: Judge issues arrest warrant for Putin over war crimes

“Hmm…” she said, disagreeing with the premise of my question… “Augusto Pinochet, Slobodan Milosevic, Chad’s Chissen Huber? I think these people None of them thought they’d see everyone inside the courtroom or they did…

“We need to play the long game here. People never know how things will play out.

“As soon as you gather the evidence and make the file on those responsible, you can be prepared until a court somewhere in the world can suddenly assert jurisdiction, and then prosecutors will act.”

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ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin

Global Justice Efforts

Ms. Van Schaack leads the U.S. Office of Global Criminal Justice. Her job is to advise the Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken) and other leaders of the United States on issues of justice and accountability.

Working with prosecutors and human rights groups around the world, her team investigated and collated evidence from Ukraine, brought charges against the Russians, and eventually found Putin himself.

“We have now seen war crimes being systematically committed in all areas where Russian troops are deployed; horrific stories, credible, corroborated by UN commissions of inquiry and others, of civilians being deliberately targeted or excessive force used, of civilians detained in Russia were killed, prisoners of war were killed, and then trying to cover up these crimes…” she told me.

“We’ve seen satellite images and other images, even just images from ordinary CCTV cameras in people’s front yards, of people lying down with their hands tied behind their backs, which is torture or summary killings. clear evidence.

“There were also attacks on theaters and train stations where there were people fleeing the conflict. You had attacks on convoys of ordinary civilians trying to leave; people just going to work with grocery bags and dead bodies strewn around with groceries. … .”

Beth Van Schack
Beth Van Schaack on a mission to hunt down Putin to the docks

She continued: “These images do stick in people’s minds. They are searing, searing images, and now the Attorney General is collecting all of them, but other investigative organizations, including the UN Commission of Inquiry, the International Criminal Court and European prosecutors are increasingly united around justice.”


Ambassador Van Schaack explained that crimes can be linked and that the line is drawn to show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin, through his authority, is responsible for these crimes.

“We need to link the crimes that we see on the ground – we have very clear digital evidence – to those that are in command and control positions.

“So going up the chain of command — who ordered these crimes to be committed? Who allowed them to commit these crimes? Who failed to prosecute and investigate those believed to be most responsible? Who failed to properly supervise their subordinates? That’s the challenge now—connecting the evidence”

Regarding the possibility of arresting officials close to President Putin, she said: “I think the idea of ​​everyone who is pushing this field is that one day, things will change.

“Someone’s going to slip away, somebody’s going to be traveling, they’re going to sneak in under false identities, people are going to recognize them on the street, they’re going to contact law enforcement, and law enforcement is going to be prepared because we’re going to collect evidence from the start. A horrific conflict, precisely for that moment.”

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Different avenues of access to justice

Ms. Van Schaack described several avenues for justice, and as we speak, there are currently three avenues in operation.

“The first is that the Attorney General of Ukraine, with the support of the international community, is investigating these cases with his colleagues in his own domestic system. The UK, the EU and the US have brought some cases, achieved some convictions, many The case is ongoing,” she said.

“The second avenue is that the matter is currently being heard by the International Criminal Court, looking at cases that may be more suitable for the International Court of Justice.”

This is how an arrest warrant is now issued against Mr Putin.

She continued: “The third avenue that should not be forgotten is domestic courts around the world. Many European countries have formed a joint investigative team to share information directly with each other about potential abuse and individuals who may be responsible.”

Ukraine also seeks some mechanism to prosecute specific crimes of aggression.

“This is a high priority for Ukraine because they believe that the original act of aggression was the original sin that sparked all the other war crimes and atrocities we’ve seen across the country,” Ms Van Schack said.

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