Last week, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, for their role in the alleged forced transfer of Ukrainian children back to Russia. Putin is the latest in a series of sitting heads of state to be issued an arrest warrant by the ICC since the Rome Statute came into force in 2002, including Omar al-Bashir, who was charged with several crimes, including genocide, in 2008.
Although the forced transfer of children is explicitly listed as one of the four examples of genocide in the Rome Statute and the UN Genocide Convention, neither Putin nor Lvova-Belova were indicted for genocide. What do the charges mean, and is there any likelihood that Putin or Lvova-Belova will face trial? We asked Dr. Joachim Savelsberg, Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair and Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota, what to make of the news.