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Interview: 'Any judge anywhere in the world can arrest Putin'


The Argentine Javier Ruiz, lawyer for the International Criminal Court, explained to 'Clarín' the implications of the arrest warrant against the Russian president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

has no immunity

as head of state from arrest on charges of trafficking Ukrainian children and deportation.

He cannot argue it because the charges against him are based on Convention 4 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, although today the Russian federation is not part of the CPI but signed its foundation in Rome.

It is a universal crime and it can be stopped.

Dr. Javier Ruiz is an Argentine, lawyer, specialist in International Criminal Law and

member of the Association of Lawyers of the

International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

He is an expert in Victim Law and international law from the University of Oxford and the Asser Diplomatic Institute, The Hague.

From The Hague, he explained to


the implications and scope of the arrest warrant that the CPI issued against the Russian president and the ability of the British prosecutor

Karim Khan

to argue it and make it effective.

Javier Ruiz, Argentine, lawyer, specialist in International Criminal Law and member of the Association of Lawyers of the International Criminal Court.

Photo: Courtesy

-What implications does this arrest warrant have for Putin?

-Various readings.

On the one hand, I believe that the International Criminal Court has decided to use the Rome Statute in the most intelligent way.

First, it is an arrest warrant, which is directed towards the only act of an administrative nature that Vladimir Putin signed with a minister who is involved in the conflict, which involves the deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia, in circumstances of occupation.

This is something that is not randomly placed, or anything.

It has some pretty important implications.

-And in second place?

-Secondly, it is a norm that, as it is expressly mentioned in one of the Geneva Conventions, Convention 4, cannot be argued by the Russians as inapplicable or as being able to disregard the Rome Statute, as they mention.


-The Russian Federation is arguing that they withdrew

(N. de la R.: from the ICC)


They sign and acknowledge the authenticity of the Treaty of Rome in 2010. In 2016, when they had to sign to join, they left.

In other words, Russia is not part of the Treaty of Rome.

It must be said that Ukraine is not either, but Ukraine is part of the Rome Statute.

When Ukraine, in 2017, sues Russia for the invasion of Crimea and in this way, the Court has jurisdiction and has jurisdiction over Ukraine.

Putin can be stopped

-You are saying something very important: that Russia is not part of the treaty that founded the International Criminal Court.

In that case, can Putin be stopped?

-Exactly, I am going to say affirmatively and categorically and I am going to express the argument.

Illegal acts in International Criminal Law are governed by the place where the crime was committed.

So, Ukraine, having accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, -accepting jurisdiction is accepting the applicable law- and by applying the doctrine of parallelism, is accepting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the crime.

That is to say, the deportation of minors as it is committed in Ukrainian territory to Russia, implicitly (Russia) is accepting in this sense the competence for the crime, which is a competence of a negative nature.

But the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court can be perfectly asserted for this case.

Geneva 4, the fundamental argument

- Does the ICC have the right, for example, to visit Moscow to prove its allegations?

Would Putin be tried in The Hague?

Would he be tried on this charge only or would it also include all the other abuses in the other cities?

-Since the materialization of international criminal jurisdiction in criminal subjectivity, with the signing of the Treaty of Rome and the entry into force in 2002 of the International Criminal Court, the most important body of the UN can perfectly go to Russia and beyond. that is not part

So, in that sense, there would be no problem.

Now, what is the intelligence or wisdom of the arrest warrant?

The basic foundation of the arrest warrant is the Geneva Convention 4, when it talks about the deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia in circumstances of occupation.

That is essential.

- Because?

-The Geneva Convention 4 is one of the conventions that were signed by both Russia and Ukraine.

It is an agreement from the year 1949 and that is the wisdom of the Criminal Court Prosecutor's Office.

The Geneva Conventions integrate what is called international law.

They are rights that fall within the non-negotiable clause and are rights that are not discussed.

So therein lies the great wisdom of the rationale for the arrest warrant.

The crime of deportation

-And when choosing the charge of deportation?

-The basis of the Criminal Court is deportation, the transfer expressly in article 8, paragraph 2 of the Treaty of Rome and mentions it as "a flagrant violation."

And it also mentions article 157 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, to which Russia and Ukraine are parties.

-What is the second spring that prosecutor Karim Kahn takes into account for this?

-Since it is a crime and an international crime, any judge can apply the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Because the State can prosecute the perpetrators of serious crimes, regardless of the place where the crime was committed and regardless of the nature of the perpetrator.

Universal jurisdiction is the jurisdiction that is given by the nature of the crime.

In other words, any judge from anywhere in the world can arrest him"

-Why do you mention "the interests of justice"?

-When you say

"in the interests of justice"

you do not mention it as a form, as a notify yourself.

The so-called "interests of justice" are the discretionary criteria of the prosecutor.

It is a figure that is typical of Anglo-Saxon law, of the "common law".

It is a valve that every Anglo-Saxon prosecutor has to use discretionary criteria.

And also mention that, according to the second or first paragraph of article 53 of the Treaty of Rome, when according to the information that the prosecutor has, it implies that it has been committed or is being committed.

Introduces the figure of "continuing crime", through the discretionary criteria of the Prosecutor's Office.

In other words, it is a crime that is still being committed, that is, there are three aspects.

I have not yet read them in any newspaper, in any analysis.

But I wanted to pass it on.

Does Putin have immunity?

-Putin is president, he has immunity, he is head of state in a case like this and at the same time he visited Mariupol, could he be detained by Ukrainian special forces, for example?

-Article 27 of the International Criminal Court ended the immunity of heads of state and it is very clear.

There is person immunity, charge immunity.

The International Criminal Court, in 1998, is basically based on three precedents.

First, it is based on the precedent of the Sherodia case, in a case from 2007, when on February 14, 2007, a Congolese minister was detained in Brussels when he landed.

He was Minister of the Interior.

Keep that in mind for later, in the case of Chancellor Lavrov.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Photo: AP

-The second?

-The second foundation of ending the immunity of the Head of State is the Taylor case, in the Special Court of Sierra Leone, dictated by the prosecutor and my former teacher, Dr. David Crain of the United States, prosecutor of the Special Court. of Sierra Leone, with all charges for former dictator Charles Taylor.

And the third case, the case of Omar Al Bashir from 2019, dictated here by the same International Criminal Court, the case of Sudan.

We can also mention the case of Milosevic, back in 1999. We can also mention other cases.

But in principle, immunity and the "leading case" on which the International Criminal Court will base itself to support

other charges

against Putin - supposedly I think they are expected - will be the case of Bosnia against Serbia, the case in the International Court of Justice in 2007.

The Nisman case and a warning for Argentina

-With this criterion, can the Nisman case reach the CPI?

-The Nisman case would have to be seen because the problem is that the crime of terrorism is not a crime that the International Criminal Court can judge.

Yes, he could enter for a crime against humanity, if some link can be drawn between what would be the memorandum.

I think it would be more a matter of proof than anything else.

And in addition to political will, right?

Of course.


You are giving me the cue to tell you something else.

The Treaty of Rome, in the preamble, expressly orders it in the sixth paragraph, when it says

"recalling the duty of all states to exercise their criminal jurisdiction against those responsible for international crimes"


So this is a call for Argentina as well.

I read out there, in a newspaper two weeks ago, that they wanted – at least certain sectors of the government – ​​that Minister Lavrov, a future war criminal, Foreign Minister of Vladimir Putin, go to Buenos Aires.

All signatory States of the Treaty of Rome have the obligation to cooperate with the Court


Not only does the preamble say so, but there is also a specific chapter in the Treaty of Rome, articles 93, 98. And if they ask if Lavrov can go to Buenos Aires, send them to read articles 93 or 98 of the Treaty of Rome.

the kidnapped boys

Stuffed animals and toys in Brussels symbolize each of the Ukrainian boys kidnapped by Russia.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck / Belgian / AFP

-As reported by the ICC, there are 64 Ukrainian boys kidnapped by Putin.

What charges apply to this crime?

-International trafficking in minors and human trafficking make up a category that are not "international crimes", but are called "emerging criminal crimes".

That is, international crimes within the orbit of the ICC.

It is war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

However, there is an intermediate category of international crimes that, without being crimes under the ICC, can enter the ICC indirectly, within the International Criminal Court.

-For example?

-International trafficking in minors, sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Gender crimes as a weapon of war.

International drug trafficking.

The so-called “Money Laundering”, money laundering with effects of international crimes.

Cybersecurity or cyber-terrorism.

Who could stop President Putin?

Could he be stopped, for example, by an international UN force, or could he be stopped by Ukrainian special forces in an operation?

It is possible that, just as he was in Mariupol and in the Crimea, he will try to go to some other occupied city.

-The other day we were speculating with some colleagues.

What we are thinking is that this arrest warrant comes at a time when a rather important spring is expected in terms of warfare, right?

Where the fighting will increase.

So more space is being left for diplomacy.

This arrest warrant corners Putin a little more.


Can they stop it?

Yes perfectly.

What can diplomacy do?

I am convinced, for example, Ambassador Rafael Grossi, in charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency, can perfectly request -I think he will have already done so- to the General Assembly of the United Nations, a force for the establishment or maintenance of peace for the Zaporiya nuclear plant.

Well, what you have to do is populate 

the area where the nuclear plant is located with an

"enforcement kit."

establishment in Zaporiya or next to Kherson, where there were quite strong clashes.

Paris, correspondent


look too

Xi Jinping in Russia: a visit that destroys any peace attempt in Ukraine

Why China and Russia are closer than ever

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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