INTERNATIONAL: Arrest warrants have been issued by judges at the International Criminal Court for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights.
In a statement, the ICC says they are suspected of the war crime of unlawfully deporting children, from Ukraine to Russia.
There are reasonable grounds to believe President Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for such deportations, the statement says, adding it is alleged to have taken place since he launched the full- scale invasion of Ukraine last February.
It says the same thing of his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova.
Since Ukraine was invaded more than a year ago, its government estimates over 16,000 children are thought to have been transferred to Russia or Russia-controlled areas.
Earlier, United Nations investigators said the forced deportation of Ukrainian children amounted to a war crime.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said there was evidence of the illegal transfer of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The Commission’s report is categorical that Russia also committed other war crimes in Ukraine.
They include attacks on hospitals, torture, rape and wilful killings.
Russia has repeatedly denied committing atrocities in its invasion.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general has hailed the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant.
“The world received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and henchmen will be held accountable,” Andriy Kostin said in a statement on social media.
Russia says ICC warrant has no significance
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of atrocities during its invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has also repeatedly said it does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and says it bears no obligations under it.
Responding to the arrest warrant against Putin, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman says it has “no significance whatsoever”.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.
“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible ‘recipes’ for arrest coming from the International Court will be legally null and void for us.”
The ICC was created to prosecute and bring to justice those responsible for the worst crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The court has global jurisdiction.
On a brief telephone conference call with journalists tonight, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov had this response to the ICC arrest warrant for President Putin:
“The very question [raised by the ICC] is outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, along with several other states, does not recognise the jurisdiction of that court and thus any decisions of this kind for Russia are null and void from a legal point of view.”
Peskov declined to take any further questions on the subject.
SOURCE: BBC World Service