Hungary says it would not arrest Putin if he entered the country

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Hungary says it would not arrest Russian president Vladimir Putin if he entered the country, despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing an arrest warrant for him last week, accusing him of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said on Thursday, March 23 that even though Hungary is a signatory to the ICC Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, and ratified it in 2001, arresting Putin would have no basis in Hungarian law.


“We can refer to the Hungarian law and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian President … as the ICC’s statute has not been promulgated in Hungary,” Gulyas said.

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He added that the Hungarian government had not yet “formed a stance” on the ICC arrest warrant for Putin.

Orban and his government have been the closest ally of the Kremlin within Europe. After Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine last year, Orban was the most reluctant European Union leader to impose sanctions on Russia and has voiced objections to Western nations sending arms to Ukraine.

Orban has warned that Europe is “drifting into” the war in Ukraine and has made extensive efforts to block Ukraine from joining NATO.

The 123 member states of the ICC are obliged to act on an arrest warrant, meaning that if Putin enters any of these territories he should be placed under arrest by national law enforcement. However, Gulyas claimed on Thursday that the Rome Statue has not been built into the Hungarian legal system, so would not apply.

Gulyas said of the arrest warrant: “These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace, this is my personal subjective opinion.”


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