Such an affliction is eternal.
Bunker fates are terrible and tragic. There was a man who seemed to be special. He was mysterious in a way. The propaganda tales say he was unpredictable. He was a favorite of the province people and the bureaucratic community. He suddenly raised from the depths of the Lubyanka to the heights of the Kremlin. The drivers know the danger of such a rapid rise. Moreover, the start was initiated almost from the very bottom of Russian life.
And what is an inconspicuous lieutenant colonel, thrown by his superiors into the background? He is an ordinary clerk with a hopeless dead end at the end of a dismal career. In this particular case, however, no cautions and ordinary prudence were working. No one wanted to think and reason in those staggering times. The sudden promotion was approved where it was due. Then disaster was inevitable.
The leader was subpoenaed. It was unheard-of impudence. And if it had been some kind of court of one's own district, the Basmanny Court, shoulder straps, as well as other attributes of power, would have gone with the wind. A few minutes later, completely different people from the relevant agencies would have come to their senses and offered their deepest apologies to the illegally injured. But this particular case was hopeless, because the court is an international criminal one. The very Hague, which in the zone of terror and legal hopelessness has long been on everyone's lips for a variety of reasons.
Russia's reaction to the sudden warrant was quite predictable: how dare they? And then, the hubris somehow faded. And everyone began to frantically look for a way out of the most unpleasant situation. Obviously, ladies were the first line of defense. The representative of the Foreign Ministry drew the attention of Russian citizens to the fact that their country had not signed any papers on this matter. Hence, the decision of the International Criminal Court in this case remains legally null and void.
And the uncompromising Kremlin spokeswoman generally stated that they'd simply forgotten who they were dealing with. Russia is a nuclear power. If one attempts to take the people's leader to The Hague, several missiles with corresponding charges can follow. And there's no need to speculate about the consequences. The unheard-of power of the country solves all problems. It is easy and uncompromising.
Unfortunately, such outbursts were of little consolation to the person who had a subpoena to The Hague. He already knew that such cases were not resolved by hastening. And he also knew a terrible military secret. It happened, repeatedly, that rockets suddenly changed their course shortly after the launch and returned to the home ground. It was impossible to foresee, what would come to the atomic warhead of such a fool again. So it was better not to be reckless but to stay close to the home bunker. And keep a low profile. But where is the guarantee that one day returning to the desk in the depths of the mountain you will not find that odious summons...?
But here the skeptics take the floor. They began to ask simple and concrete questions. What is the sense of the Hague warrant? Does anyone believe that a suspect in a serious criminal offense will respond to the summons and face justice without coercion? Or will bailiffs, who are not at the International Criminal Court, go to Moscow with an arrest warrant?
This is all from the long-known series: "And how many divisions does the Pope have?" The judges who made the decision to arrest the heavily armed dictator are not doing so very well. Human rights and the moral laws of civilization stand in their strategic reserve. On top of that are the 123 states that have decided to ratify the Rome Statute. This means that each of them recognizes the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and undertakes to assist in the execution of its decisions. Everyone already knows what the judges will ask the Kremlin dictator suspected of deporting Ukrainian children.
Of course, the answers to all such questions can only be negative. That is how the Russian authorities treated this staggering news. And the famous Moscow blogger Medvedev, who also holds the official post of deputy to the Security Council, threatened a missile attack on the ICC building in The Hague. Nobody doubted this reaction. The debate regarding the legality of arrest warrants for the head of state with a stockpile of nuclear weapons has simply gone wild these days. There are too many people who can't believe this has happened. Is there anything extraordinary about it?
Putin was just unlucky. Following a disastrous failure of the blitzkrieg, it was ridiculous to hope that everything would somehow work itself out in victory over those who had resisted so fiercely from the first day of the invasion. It was already clear how this war would end. But he was no strategist. He was still a clerk. And no one told him that if he suffered a crushing defeat, he should crawl back in time. And do not try to take revenge, if he has nothing but vain ambition in reserve.
The clarification by the ICC chief prosecutor in this sad story is very timely: there is no statute of limitations on a court decision to issue an arrest warrant for a war criminal. One can hide in the deepest bunker. And even run for a new presidential term. But nothing will change with this warrant.
Such an affliction is eternal.
Uladzimir Khalip, especially for Charter97.org