The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against the Russian president


The International Criminal Court announced Friday the issuance of an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming his responsibility for war crimes committed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The US President Joe Biden said on Friday, “the Russian President Vladimir Putin committed war crimes, and the decision of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant against him is justified”.

Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two individuals in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, who’s the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Russia.

In its statement, the court added that “Putin is presumed responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of children’s residents and illegal transfer of children’s residents from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

“It’s assumed that the crimes were committed in the occupied Ukrainian territories at least as of February 24,” the statement continued, adding that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin is personally responsible for the aforementioned crimes.

On Monday, the New York Times reported that the International Criminal Court was preparing to open two cases involving Russian officials over the invasion of Ukraine, the transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia, and the deliberate bombing of civilian facilities in Ukraine.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, has previously said, “We confirmed with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General our common concern that such acts will be fully investigated and that those responsible for international crimes will be held accountable”.

The International Criminal Court, set up in 2002 to try the worst crimes committed in the world, has been investigating for more than a year possible war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during the Russian invasion.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kiev has accepted the court’s operation on its territory and is working with the prosecutor.

Russia denies accusations of war crimes, as experts stressed that it was unlikely that he had received any suspects.

In response, Russia on Friday described the International Criminal Court’s decisions as insignificant and legally invalid, after announcing the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram that “the decisions of the International Criminal Court are of no importance for our country”.

Zakharova added that “Russia isn’t a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and has no obligations under it, and Moscow doesn’t cooperate with the court… The arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court are legally invalid for Russia”.

On Friday, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, assigned investigators to open an investigation into the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A statement by the Russian investigation committee, issued on Friday, said that “the head of the Russian investigation committee instructed the central organ of the committee to conduct an investigation into the issuance of illegal arrest warrants against Russian citizens by the International Criminal Court”.

The statement indicated that the investigation committee will identify the persons among the judges of the International Criminal Court who took the aforementioned decision.

The Rome Statute is the founding text of the International Criminal Court, which has its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “Russia, like a number of other countries, doesn’t recognize the jurisdiction of this court, and therefore from a legal point of view, the decisions of this court are invalid”.

For her part, the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Affairs, Maria Lvova, who was also issued an arrest warrant by the court, said, “Sanctions have been imposed on me by all countries, even Japan, and now an arrest warrant… But we will continue our work”.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin is historic, and held Putin responsible for the deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.

“This is a historic decision that will lead to a historic reckoning,” Zelensky added in his videotaped nightly speech.

Zelensky indicated that the real number of children deported could be much more than 16,000, and he added that their deportation constitutes a policy of the state of evil, which begins specifically from the highest official in that state.

“It was impossible to carry out such a criminal operation without the consent of the man at the head of the terrorist state,” he added.

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