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Is Putin Supposed to Turn Himself In for War Crimes?

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Fox News’ White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki Monday whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will turn himself in for war crimes, now that U.S. President Joe Biden has called for a prosecution.

Doocy was asking about the practical consequences of Biden’s declaration earlier Monday that Putin is a war criminal due to alleged atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. Biden said Putin was guilty — but then added that there had to be a trial.

It is unclear how such a declaration would be enforced, without the U.S. winning a war against Russia, or without Russians ousting their own leader and turning him in to the International Criminal Court (ICC) — to which the U.S. is not a party.

The exchange between Doocy and Psaki was as follows (via White House transcript):

Q    Thank you, Jen.  So, President Biden is talking about putting Putin on a [war crime] trial.  Does he expect Putin to turn himself in to stand trial?  Or does he think somebody’s going to have to go into Russia and arrest him?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, without getting into the mechanisms — which, I know, were the good questions everybody was asking our National Security Advisor — there is precedent in the past of how this process can work.

We’re not going to prejudge what the process would work or — or what steps would be taken through — through an international legal process.

So, that’s not quite where we’re at right now, Peter, and I can’t give you a sense of the mechanisms of — of, if convicted, what would happen.

Psaki also did not explain why Putin would agree to peace negotiations to end the war in Ukraine if the U.S. and others would prosecute him for war crimes.

There is no previous example of a nuclear-armed power voluntarily handing in its own leadership for prosecution. There is also no guarantee Putin would not use weapons of mass destruction if he believed his own life or liberty to be at stake.

It is also unclear why, if the U.S. considers Putin a “war criminal,” and believes that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, the Biden administration is willing to cooperate with the Putin regime in pursuing a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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