Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference with a group of award-winning teachers at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, October 5, 2022. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
The Kremlin branded the court decision as “null and void” with respect to Russia.
Neither Russia not Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kyiv granted it jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.
The tribunal, with 123 member states, has no police force of its own and relies on member countries to detain and transfer suspects to The Hague for trial.
While it is unlikely that Putin will end up in court any time soon, the warrant means that he could be arrested and sent to The Hague if traveling to any ICC member states.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia found the very questions raised by the ICC “outrageous and unacceptable”.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel that the arrest warrants had “no meaning for our country” as it is not a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty underpinning the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal.
In its first warrant for Ukraine, the ICC called for Putin’s arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
“The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” it said.
Ukraine has said more than 16,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia or Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.