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Ukraine news: Vladimir Putin arrest warrant issued

AMSTERDAM –

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, accusing him of war crimes over the illegal deportation of hundreds of children. Ukraine.

The bold legal move would oblige the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he steps foot on their territory.

Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations that its forces committed atrocities during the year-long invasion of its neighbor, and the Kremlin described the court ruling as “null and void.”

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC, although Kiev has given it jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory. The tribunal has no police force of its own and relies on member states to make arrests.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia found the issues raised by the ICC “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Answering the question whether Putin is now afraid of traveling to countries that recognize the ICC, Peskov answered:

Stephen Rapp, the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes under former President Barack Obama, said: “This makes Putin glorious. If he travels, he risks arrest. This never goes away. Russia cannot get rid of sanctions without meeting the demands. guarantees”.

Putin is the third sitting president to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

Reuters reported earlier this week that the court was expected to rule.

PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN

In its first warrant for Ukraine, the ICC called for the arrest of Putin on suspicion of illegal deportation of children and illegal transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation from February 24, 2022.

“Hundreds of Ukrainian children have been transferred from orphanages and orphanages to Russia,” the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, said in a statement on Friday. “Many of these children, we allege, have since been put up for adoption in the Russian Federation.”

The alleged actions “show an intent to remove these children from their country forever. During these deportations, Ukrainian children were protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Khan said his office would continue to search for additional suspects and “will not hesitate to file further applications for arrest warrants when the evidence requires us to do so.”

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin hailed the ICJ’s decision as “a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire international legal system.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borel said that this is just the beginning of “holding Russia accountable for its crimes and atrocities in Ukraine.”

Some Russians saw the hand of the US in the ICC decision, although Washington, like Moscow, is not a state party.

“Yankees, hands off Putin.” Vyacheslav Volodin, a close ally of the president, wrote on Telegram to parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, saying the move was evidence of Western “hysteria”.

“We consider any attack on the President of the Russian Federation as aggression against our country,” he said.

On Friday, the court also made a decision on the same charge against the Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova. He responded to the news with irony, according to RIA Novost agency. “It is wonderful that the international community has appreciated the work of helping the children of our country.”

Ukraine has said that more than 16,000 children have been illegally transported to Russia or to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.

A report by Yale University researchers last month said Russia held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children in at least 43 camps and other facilities as part of a “vast, coordinated network.”

Russia has made no secret of a plan to bring thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, but it presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and abandoned children in the conflict zone.

The ICC’s Khan launched an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine a year ago. He has emphasized during his four visits to Ukraine that he is investigating alleged crimes against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.


(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling and Charlotte Van Kempenhout; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Garrett Jones)

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