THE HAGUE, March 17. /TASS/. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, the court said in a statement on Friday.
The statement said they could be responsible "for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation."
ICC arrest warrants are usually secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. However, the court stated that it authorized the public disclosure of the existence of the warrants, the names of the suspects and the crimes for which the warrants are issued, because "the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes."
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, when he commented on potential ICC cases against Russia, that Russia doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in comments on the information from the Hague, said decisions of the court have no consequence in Russia and any potential arrest warrants are null and void.
The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute in 1998. It’s not part of the UN and is accountable to the countries that have ratified the statute. The countries that aren’t parties to the statute include Russia (signed, didn’t ratify), the US (signed, then revoked signature) and China (didn’t sign). Putin signed an executive order in 2016 that stated Russia wouldn’t be a member of the ICC. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court didn’t live up to expectations and failed to become a truly independent organization for international justice. The US expressed strong displeasure with the court in 2020, after ICC prosecutors indicated they would investigate crimes by US servicemen in Afghanistan.