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ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin over war in Ukraine.


AMSTERDAM: The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, accusing him of war crimes involving the illegal deportation of minors from Ukraine.

Moscow has constantly refuted charges that its forces committed atrocities against its neighbour during the one-year invasion.

The arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court “have no relevance for our country, even from a legal standpoint,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.

She went on to say that Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty that underpins the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal.

Also Read: Russia is fighting for its very existence, says Putin

The ICC issued its first warrant for Putin’s arrest in Ukraine on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful movement of people from Ukrainian territory to the Russian Federation.

The Kremlin did not react quickly to a request for comment.

Although neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, Kyiv has granted it jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory. The tribunal, which has 123 member states, does not have its own police force and must rely on member countries to hold and transfer detainees to The Hague for trial.

Arrest possibility

While it is doubtful that Putin will appear in court anytime soon, the warrant means that if he travels to any ICC member country, he might be detained and transported to The Hague.

Putin is the third sitting president to face an arrest order from the International Criminal Court, following Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

The court was expecting to issue warrants, according to Reuters earlier this week.

On Friday, the court issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges.

More than 16,000 children have been unlawfully moved to Russia or Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine, according to Ukraine.

According to a US-backed investigation this month by Yale University researchers, Russia has detained at least 6,000 Ukrainian youngsters in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow brutally invaded in 2014.

The investigation found at least 43 camps and other institutions where Ukrainian children were imprisoned as part of Moscow’s “large-scale systematic network” since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has not hidden a programme that has transferred thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, but has disguised it as a humanitarian effort to safeguard orphans and youngsters abandoned in conflict zones.

A year ago, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan launched an investigation into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Ukraine. On four travels to Ukraine, he stated that he was investigating suspected crimes against minors and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.

According to the ICC, Putin is charged with the war crime of unlawful deportation from seized parts of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

“The alleged offences were committed in Ukrainian-occupied territory beginning on February 24, 2022. There are reasonable reasons to think that Mr Putin is personally liable for the aforementioned offences “It stated.