The Russian government has placed an International Criminal Court (ICC) judge on its list of wanted persons, in response to criminal probes launched into several other officials at the ICC. Russia’s Interior Ministry updated its database, adding ICC judge Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez to the wanted list. However, no other details about the case against Godinez, a Costa Rican national, have been provided by the ministry.
Previously in March, the ICC had issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. This was in connection with the alleged overseeing of “unlawful deportations” of Ukrainian children to Russia. Both Putin and Lvova-Belova were accused of bearing individual and command responsibility for the alleged offense under the ICC’s establishing treaty, the Rome Statute.
Consequently, the Kremlin rejected the ICC’s warrant as invalid, citing an absence of criminal liability and the court’s lack of jurisdiction. In retaliation, criminal investigations against one ICC prosecutor and several judges, including Godinez, were opened. In September, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski was also declared wanted.
Russian tensions with the ICC go back several years. Despite signing the Rome Statute in 2000, Russia never ratified the agreement, formally refusing to sign it in 2016. This was in response to the court’s declaration that Crimea’s 2014 accession to Russia was an “occupation,” following a democratic referendum. Moscow’s refusal to sign means it does not recognize the court or its jurisdiction.
As a result, much of the controversy surrounding the warrants and investigations reflects an ongoing power struggle and territorial dispute between Russia and the ICC. Russia insists on its autonomy and is opposed to any attempts to infringe upon its sovereignty.
Furthermore, the latest inclusion of Godinez on the wanted list suggests that Russia is not backing down in its battle with the ICC. By targeting the court’s officials with criminal probes and arrest warrants, Russia is sending a clear message that it does not recognize the authority of the ICC outside of its own legal framework.
This dispute has raised tensions internationally. As a result, many countries and human rights organizations have been closely monitoring the situation. The impact could be significant, as it could lead to further disagreement and a lack of cooperation in the international legal arena.
Overall, the tensions between Russia and the ICC continue to escalate with the latest developments. It remains to be seen how this conflict will be resolved, but it is clear that this dispute will have far-reaching implications for international law and order. The international community will be closely watching as this situation unfolds.