The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine. The warrant was issued on Friday (March 17). British news agency Reuters reported this news.
Russia, which has been attacking neighbouring Ukraine for more than a year, has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes and atrocities.
A female Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday that the arrest warrant issued against Putin has no significance.
Earlier, Russia said it does not recognize the ICC. As a result, the court does not have jurisdiction to try Russia.
Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016. Moscow pulled out of the ICC after a court report called the annexation of Crimea into Russian territory an “occupation”. Because by saying ‘occupation’, the Russian action can be called ‘aggression’.
According to the ICC’s definition, the occupation, bombardment or blockade of a port of a state falls under aggression. But if a state does not belong to the ICC, then a specific individual of the country cannot be tried for the crime of aggression.
The only exception in this case is that the UN Security Council can refer the case of the country accused of aggression to the ICC. But Russia has veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council. As a result, it is less likely to happen. But there is no bar to prosecuting non-signatories like Russia on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Besides, ICC does not judge any country. The court is the highest court to try the leaders and officials responsible for any crime. Also, the ICC does not judge a person in absentia. As a result, in order to prosecute Putin, Russian officials must either hand him over to the courts or arrest him in a country or region outside of Russia.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Putin on charges of illegally transferring children and people from Ukrainian territory to Russia.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Telegram channel that the decision of the International Criminal Court has no value in our country, even from a legal point of view. Russia has not signed the Rome Statute of the ICC. Consequently, we are not bound by the decision of this court.
Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andrii Yamak welcomed the decision on social media, saying it was just the beginning.
British newspaper The Guardian reported that judges considered issuing secret warrants. But it has been publicly issued to help prevent such crimes from happening in the future.
The ICC issued the warrant after a UN-designated investigative team raised allegations that Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine.
A UN investigative team has accused Russia of crimes including deliberate killings, torture and, in some cases, rape of relatives in front of children and holding people close to corpses.
The issuance of the warrant comes at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow is expected to strengthen ties between the two countries. At the same time, the relations of the West with the two countries will reach the bottom.
It should be noted that the Chinese President will visit Russia from March 20 to 22 at the invitation of Putin. The US has described Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow as a ‘peace mission’. The US has signalled that any peace framework proposed by Beijing is “one-sided and will reflect Russia’s views.”
Russia has faced unprecedented Western sanctions since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.