18 mar 2023 9:33 p.m
The International Criminal Court in The Hague wants to arrest the Russian President and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights for the alleged “deportation” of Ukrainian children. How do the accused feel about the accusation and what legal consequences can they expect?
Russia has dismissed the “war crimes” allegations against its president as null and void.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin and Child Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belowa of possibly committing war crimes by “deporting” and “displacing” children from Ukraine. Moscow has dismissed the accusation as absurd and not legally binding, as Russia has never ratified the court’s jurisdiction.
What does the ICC claim?
The Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber had issued an “arrest warrant” for Putin and Lvova-Belova, charging them with personal and command responsibility for “unlawful deportation of the population (children) and unlawful removal of the population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine.” The allegations appear to be based on the Kiev government’s interpretation that Russia is trying to evacuate civilians from frontline areas that the Ukrainian military – often with NATO-supplied weapons – had been shelling.
What does the “arrest warrant” mean?
Legally nothing. Although Russia was a signatory to the Rome Statute, the founding document of the ICC, it never ratified the treaty and officially withdrew from it in 2016. Whatever the court claims or does is null and void in Russia, both Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
Is Russia the only country that doesn’t recognize the ICC?
While 123 countries have signed the Rome Statute, 41 have not – including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In addition to Russia, Israel, Sudan and the USA have also withdrawn their signatures. The US Congress even passed legislation in 2002 banning all cooperation with the court and authorizing “all necessary and reasonable means” to extricate any American or national of an allied country from The Hague, if necessary by military force.
What was the Russian reaction?
Kremlin spokesman Peskov described the ICC’s announcement as “outrageous and unacceptable”. Senator Andrei Klishas of the ruling party United Russia said the ICC was on the road to self-destruction. Former President and Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev compared the “arrest warrant” to toilet paper. Crimean Senator Sergei Tsekov warned that the ICC’s decision shows that Western-created institutions have become “worthless and insignificant”. Lvova-Belova sarcastically thanked the “international community” for recognizing her work in rescuing children from the combat zone.
more on the subject – International Criminal Court: Brother of “Putin accuser” is a convicted pedophile
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On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would launch a special military operation in Ukraine together with the armed forces of the Donbass republics to protect the population there. The goals are to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. Ukraine speaks of a war of aggression. On the same day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy declared a state of war across the country.
The West condemned the attack, reacted with new deliveries of weapons, promised help with reconstruction and imposed sanctions on Russia.
Scores of soldiers and civilians have been killed on both sides of the conflict. Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of various war crimes. Thousands of Ukrainians have now fled their homeland.