Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 July 2023
- ICC Warrant and Diplomatic Balancing: Putin’s Decision Changes BRICS Summit Dynamics
- Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023: Rights-Based Social Security
ICC Warrant and Diplomatic Balancing: Putin’s Decision Changes BRICS Summit Dynamics
- Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has chosen not to travel to South Africa for the BRICS summit. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa make up the BRICS group, which accounts for a sizeable percentage of global commerce, GDP, and population.
- President Putin’s choice has helped South Africa out of a difficult situation. Being the host nation for the BRICS conference this year, the nation would have theoretically been required to extradite Putin due to a warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2023 for suspected war crimes.
GS Paper 2 – International Relations, International Organizations
Describe the difficulties South Africa has experienced hosting the BRICS conference in light of the ICC’s arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin of Russia. How did President Putin’s choice to abstain from the meeting resolve the matter? Discuss how international law and diplomatic relations must coexist in such circumstances. (150 Words)
- On charges of war crimes stemming from the alleged illegal deportation of more than 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2023.
- Given that it is a member of the ICC and will soon take over as head of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), this arrest warrant put South Africa in a tough position. South Africa would generally anticipate that all head of state representatives, including President Putin, would attend the BRICS meeting it is hosting in August.
- South Africa, however, was in a pickle because of Putin’s arrest order issued by the ICC. If Putin were to reach its territory, it would be legally required to carry out the arrest warrant because it is a member of the ICC. Arresting a head of state who is currently in office might have huge diplomatic and geopolitical repercussions, which could increase tensions and make it more difficult to put an end to the continuing crisis in Ukraine.
- In order to manage this position, South Africa previously asked for a waiver from its duty to detain Putin, claiming that doing so may be interpreted as declaring war and could jeopardise peace efforts in Ukraine.
- President Putin chose not to travel to the BRICS conference as a solution to this complicated situation. He chose to attend through video conference instead of risking potential legal and diplomatic issues by actually being present in South Africa.
What is the BRICS?
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are the five major emerging national economies that make up the term BRICS. These nations’ economies are among the most powerful and rapidly expanding in the world. Collectively, the BRICS countries account for a sizeable share of the world’s population, land area, and economic output. The acronym “BRIC” first appeared when the group only consisted of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Later in 2010, South Africa joined, increasing the group to include BRICS.
international criminal court(ICC)
- A permanent organisation called the International Criminal Court (ICC) was created to hold people accountable for severe international crimes. Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression are some of these crimes. The major goal of the court is to end impunity worldwide and make sure that everyone may be held accountable for their actions under international law, regardless of their status or position.
- The International Criminal Court (ICC) concentrates solely on prosecuting people for transnational crimes, in contrast to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, which is also based in The Hague, Netherlands.
- The Rome Statute, which established the ICC, was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1998 in Rome, Italy. After nations signed and passed the legislation through their individual legislatures to become members or State parties to the ICC, it began operational in 2002. There are currently 123 members, with African countries constituting the largest group. Notably, while some nations, like the United States, Russia, Israel, and Syria, signed the Rome Statute but never ratified it, others, including India, China, Iraq, North Korea, and Turkey, never did.
The Rome Statute is what?
The International Criminal Court (ICC), an international court with the authority to try people for the most serious offences of global concern, such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression, was formed by the Rome Statute. After being accepted by 60 nations, the Rome Statute was adopted in 1998 during a diplomatic conference held in Rome, Italy, and it came into effect on July 1, 2002. 123 nations have approved the Rome Statute as of 2021, making them ICC members.
How is the ICC put to use?
- The 18 judges and prosecutors who work for the International Criminal Court (ICC) have non-renewable nine-year tenure. There are three benches in the courtroom: pre-trial, trial, and appeal.
- The Office of the Prosecutor first conducts a preliminary investigation to see if there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the investigation. The prosecutor requests permission from the pre-trial judges to launch a thorough inquiry. The preliminary investigation must determine that the alleged crimes are serious enough for this to occur.
The ICC has three options for starting an investigation:
1. When a member nation refers a case that pertains to its own jurisdiction.
2. When the UN Security Council refers a case.
3. When the prosecutor launches an inquiry proprio motu, or on their own initiative.
Under three circumstances, non-member governments may also be the subject of ICC investigations:
1. If suspected crimes were committed on the soil of member states by non-members.
2. When non-member nations voluntarily recognise the court’s authority.
3. If a non-member state is a subject of an investigation that is approved by the UN Security Council.
Does the ICC have the power to bring charges against President Putin?
- The 123 States Parties to the Rome Statute do not include Russia, the United States, China, or India, hence they do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The jurisdiction of the ICC is restricted to crimes committed in nations that have accepted the Rome Statute or by citizens of such nations since its creation on July 1, 2002.
- Additionally, Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute. But in 2014, Ukraine agreed that the ICC has jurisdiction over suspected crimes that were allegedly committed there between November 21, 2013, and February 22, 2014. Additionally, Ukraine continued to recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC beginning on February 20, 2014, without establishing a deadline. Due to Ukraine’s voluntary membership, the ICC was able to look into and perhaps punish crimes that were committed there during those times.
- It is significant to remember that, unless individual cases meet the requirements set forth in the Rome Statute or are referred by the UN Security Council, the jurisdiction of the ICC depends on the agreement of the State Parties and does not automatically extend to non-member nations. As a result, due to their non-member status, nations like Russia, the United States, China, and India are not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Is Putin at risk of being detained abroad?
- President Vladimir Putin’s arrest order from the ICC would only be effective if he travelled to a nation that is a member of the court, such as South Africa, where the court’s authority would be in force. This hypothetical situation has not, however, actually happened.
- The fact that the ICC has never before issued an arrest warrant for the leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council is notable. Only two previous heads of state—the late Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and the former president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir—have been indicted by the ICC while in office. These incidents highlight the unusual character of legal lawsuits brought against powerful political actors.
- In light of the foregoing, it should be noted that the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin is an important step towards promoting responsibility for alleged war crimes. It shows how dedicated the ICC is to maintaining international law and making sure that even powerful leaders can be held accountable for their deeds. The way South Africa handled the crisis as the BRICS summit’s host demonstrates its skill at negotiating tricky international ties.
- This development serves as a reminder of the value of international cooperation in pursuing justice and combating grave crimes on a global scale. The readiness of Ukraine to recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC highlights the determination of some countries to assist the pursuit of justice on a global scale.
- The scenario, however difficult, serves as a reminder of the fine line that must be drawn between international law and diplomatic relations. It leads to additional conversations about how to properly confront alleged crimes while promoting positive international communication.
Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023: Rights-Based Social Security
The Ashok Gehlot-led administration has proposed the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023, which adopts a rights-based approach to creating a wide social safety net.
GS Paper 2: Government Policies & Interventions
Describe how the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023 differs from traditional cash transfer programmes. How does the Bill seek to help the most disadvantaged members of society? (150 Words)
The bill consists of three parts:
- Guaranteed Minimum Income: In accordance with this clause, each adult resident of the state is guaranteed a minimum yearly income of 125 days. Two programmes will be used to fulfil this entitlement:
- The urban areas’ Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana.
- For rural areas, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
- For the urban employment programme, the government has expanded the employment guarantee from 100 to 125 days. In addition, the state will add 25 more workdays to MGNREGA’s 100-day limit in rural areas.
- The Bill places a strong emphasis on paying minimum wages on time every week or within a fortnight of a worker’s completion of their assigned tasks in urban or rural employment projects. One essential requirement is that the work site should be within a 5 Km radius of the job card registration location in both rural and urban areas.
- If the Programme Officer fails to provide employment within 15 days of application, the applicant is eligible for a refund.
- The designated programme officer is responsible for implementing the Act. This person must hold the position of a Block Development Officer in rural areas and an Executive Officer of the local body in urban areas.
Guaranteed Social Security income:
- Under this category, people who fall into certain categories—such as the elderly, people with disabilities, widows, and single women—are guaranteed a minimum income of Rs 1,000 per month. Starting in the financial year 2024–2025, a 5% increase will be made in July and a 10% increase will be made in January, increasing the pension amount by 15% yearly.
- Differentiating from Cash Transfer Schemes: The Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill stands apart from conventional cash transfer schemes because it complies with Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of complete welfare measures by providing legislative guarantees for minimum income support, guaranteed employment, and pensions.
- The Bill includes an annual pension increment to keep pace with inflation, a feature not commonly found in cash transfer schemes, and provides employment and pension support to various vulnerable groups.
- The Bill covers all families in the state, unlike cash transfer schemes with limited coverage.The Bill intends to help and uplift underprivileged groups of society by taking a comprehensive approach to social security.
The Bill’s dedication to building a broad social safety net and assisting the most vulnerable members of society gives it relevance. The strategy used by this Bill sets itself apart from cash distribution programmes in other states by guaranteeing employment and pensions through legislation. In light of forthcoming elections, this action underscores the moral duty of the government to provide relief from inflation and guarantee justice for all citizens.
Issues and Financial Restraints
- While the concept of guaranteeing a minimum income for citizens is admirable, the method of executing it through an urban job guarantee system may encounter difficulties. Urban demand is less predictable than seasonal need for labour in rural areas, which complicates the design of the programme. In addition, there are issues with the types of public works offered in urban regions as well as the capacity restrictions of urban local authorities.
- State’s financial burden The scheme will incur additional costs of Rs 2,500 crore annually, which could rise over time and place an additional burden on the government.
- Targeted Application of the Programme: It is difficult to implement the plan in a way that the intended audience benefits.
- There are financial constraints that must be taken into account notwithstanding the widespread support for this welfare programme. Rajasthan has one of the highest debt loads of any state in the nation and devotes less funds to areas of spending that are more profitable. According to reports, the state announced giveaways in 2022–2023 that represented 8.6 percent of its own tax revenue. Although these programmes have the best of intentions, they highlight the economic difficulties in generating enough chances for productive employment to lessen social pressures in financially troubled regions.
The government’s dedication to constructing a wide-ranging and inclusive social security net is shown in the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill 2023 and other related measures. But for such policies to be implemented successfully, it will be essential to solve implementation issues and deal with financial limitations. More employment opportunities, ensuring access to healthcare and education, and creating avenues for upward mobility, particularly for people with lower skill levels, should also be priorities.