War in Ukraine: Putin targeted by an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court
ILYA PITALEV / AFP Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech for the 1160th anniversary of the Russian state in Veliky Novgorod, September 21, 2022.


Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech for the 1160th anniversary of the Russian state in Veliky Novgorod, September 21, 2022.

INTERNATIONAL – While Russian President Vladimir Putin has just announced a summit meeting with his Chinese counterpart, he is now the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) this Friday, March 17 for facts in connection with the war in Ukraine.

For their responsibilities in war crimes perpetrated in Ukraine since the Russian invasion, “Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for two persons in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova”presidential commissioner for children’s rights in Russia, the ICC said in a statement.

Putin responsible for deportation

Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin quickly denounced this announcement. “The decisions of the International Criminal Court are meaningless for our country, including from a legal point of view” because Moscow has no obligation towards it, wrote on Telegram the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy Maria Zakharova, without referring by name to Vladimir Putin in her message. However, the court’s accusations against the head of the Kremlin are far from trivial.

The head of the Kremlin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

And the ICC adds that the “ crimes were allegedly committed on occupied Ukrainian territory at least from February 24, 2022”start date of“special military operation” of the Russian army in Ukraine. The court considers in this respect that there is ” reasonable grounds to believe that Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for the above crimes ».

Russia ” is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and has no obligations under it”. Thus, Moscow “not cooperating” with the court, underlined Maria Zakharova. Russia has consistently denied war crimes allegations since its invasion of Ukraine 387 days ago. Especially since experts admit that it is unlikely that Russia will agree to hand over suspects to the ICC, let alone its president in office.

Decision “historical” pour Kiev

Also targeted by the ICC, Maria Lvova-Belova did not lack irony in reacting to the news: “It’s nice that the international community has valued our work to help the children of our country, and that we don’t leave them in areas of military operations and take them out (…) There is had sanctions from all countries (…) But we will continue the work “.

First reaction of a senior politician in Russia? That of ex-president Dmitry Medvedev, who allowed himself to compare the ICC arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin to toilet paper. “The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. No need to explain where this paper should be used”he wrote on Twitter in English, ending his message with a toilet paper emoticon.

On the other side of the border, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office welcomed this decision ” historical of the International Criminal Court. The Ukrainian presidency even took the liberty of reacting by announcing that this arrest warrant was only a first step before other sanctions.

« This is just the beginning “, welcomed the head of the presidential administration Andriï Iermak on Telegram. The United Kingdom meanwhile “welcomed” the decision of the ICC, while the vice-president of the European Commission Josep Borrell spoke of a “ important decision ».

From Monday, the New York Times reported that the ICC was preparing to prosecute Russian figures for the transfer of children to Russia and for deliberate strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said earlier this month after a visit to Ukraine that alleged child abductions were “the subject of a priority investigation”. The ICC, created in 2002 to judge the worst crimes committed in the world, has been investigating for more than a year into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during the Russian offensive.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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