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The ICC’s office of the prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant against President of Russia Vladimir Putin and another high-level State official whose portfolio relates to the rights of children. At this stage, the arrest warrant relates to allegations of unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. This is not a first arrest warrant issued against an incumbent head of State of a State not party to 1998 Rome Statute that has established the ICC. The ICC’s own decision that President Al-Bashir of Sudan would not enjoy immunity before the Court was certainly not in accordance with the political mainline in the West, and was in fact opposed by several international lawyers, including those who have testified before the ICC with regard to this matter. 

As I have explained earlier, and much as this issue was controversial, it was by no means outside the Court’s authority to declare that it can try sitting heads of State of any State, including ones not parties to the ICC Statute. Read full article...