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ICC judges issue arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes

Judges say arrest warrant issued over Russian president’s alleged involvement in abductions of children from Ukraine; Moscow says court’s move meaningless.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, a move dismissed by Moscow as meaningless.

The Hague-based court said in a statement on Friday the warrant was issued over Putin’s suspected involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the child abductions “for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (and) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts,” the statement added.

The ICC, which has no powers to enforce its own warrants, also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in the office of the Russian president, on similar allegations.

Russia, which denies committing atrocities since it invaded Ukraine in February last year, rejected the ICC’s move as null and void.

“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel after the announcement.

“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it.”

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

You have no power here: What the ICC ‘arrest warrant’ means for Putin

Russia has dismissed “war crimes” accusations against its president as null and void

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova may have committed war crimes by “deporting” and “transferring” children from Ukraine. Moscow has dismissed the move as preposterous and not legally binding, since Russia has never ratified the court’s jurisdiction.

What does the ICC claim?

The Court’s Pre-trial Chamber issued an “arrest warrant” for Putin and Lvova-Belova, accusing them of personal and command responsibility for what they described as “unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine.” The accusations appear to be based on the Kiev government’s interpretation of Russian efforts to evacuate civilians away from frontline areas that the Ukrainian military has targeted, often with NATO-supplied weapons.

What does the “warrant” mean?

In legal terms, nothing. Though Russia was one of the signatories to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding document, 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 confirmed on Friday.

Is Russia alone in not recognizing the ICC?

While 123 states have signed the Rome Statute, 41 have not – including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye. Besides Russia, Israel, Sudan and the US have also withdrawn their signatures. The US Congress even passed a law in 2002 prohibiting any cooperation with the court and authorizing “all means necessary and appropriate” to release any American – or national of an allied country – from the Hague, by military force if necessary.

What was the Russian reaction?

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the ICC announcement as “outrageous and unacceptable.” Senator Andrey Klishas, from the ruling United Russia party, said the ICC just put itself on the road to self-destruction. Former president and deputy chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev compared the “warrant” to toilet paper. Crimean Senator Sergei Tsekov said the ICC decision demonstrates that Western-created institutions have become “worthless and insignificant.” Lvova-Belova sarcastically thanked the “international community” for appreciating her work to help rescue children from the zone of combat operations.



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