The Hungarian prime minister’s chief of staff has said that the Hungarian authorities will not arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he enters the country despite him being the subject of an international warrant for war crimes in Ukraine.
Gergely Golias, chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said during a press conference in Budapest that Putin’s arrest would contravene Hungarian law because the country has not incorporated the ICC statute into its legal system.
The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, last week issued an arrest warrant for Putin accusing him of being personally responsible for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.
Golias said that the statute of the International Criminal Court, of which Hungary is a member state, contradicts the Constitution of Hungary, and therefore Putin’s arrest violates Hungarian law. Orbán’s government has not yet taken a position on the memorandum, but Gulias said he considers it useless.
“I think that these decisions are not the most fortunate because they lead to escalation and not towards peace,” he said.
The chances of Putin facing trial in The Hague are highly unlikely because Moscow does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC or extradite its citizens. However, the warrant could limit the Russian president’s ability to travel to the court’s 123 member states, which could arrest him according to the warrant.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine 13 months ago, Hungary has condemned the war but has refused to supply arms to Ukraine or allow them to be transported across its borders. It has also threatened to veto some EU sanctions against Moscow and has blocked the adoption of a large EU financing package for Kiev.
Earlier this week, Hungary refused to join the other 26 members of the European Union in signing a resolution supporting the ICC’s warrant against Putin.
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