On Friday, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and one of his top war crimes officials. The despot more than deserves it.
This is an important event due to the players and the crimes in question, but fundamentally nothing out of the ordinary is going on here. A man has committed a series of crimes, and the authorities want to take him into custody so that he can answer for what he did and face the consequences. The main difference is in scale, and this scale only makes the need for accountability more acute, not less.
After all, everyone understands that the chances of Putin ever actually seeing the inside of an ICC courtroom are zero. The Court lacks its own enforcement mechanisms.
However, it is important to go on record that allegations of his war crimes have been investigated and enough evidence has been collected for an arrest, especially since they involve more than the obvious fact that Putin violated international law by invading Ukraine. In particular, the warrants against him and his Ombudsman for Children, Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, concern the forced deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, which is very close to one of the definitions of genocide.
Along with UN investigations into crimes such as the deliberate targeting of civilians in Ukraine, these records will establish for posterity how the copycat tsar not only caused thousands of deaths and a host of destruction in pursuit of his territorial ambitions, but did so by deliberately violating the rules of war, to cause maximum devastation. Whether or not Putin himself is ever brought to justice, the investigation is preparing a harsh sentence for him in the court of history.