The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
It also issued a warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, on similar allegations.
Moscow has denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during the one-year invasion of its neighbour.
In Moscow’s first reaction to the news, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel: “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view.”
“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it,” she posted.
Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000 but never ratified it to become a member of the ICC, and finally withdrew its signature in 2016.
In comments to Al Jazeera, the ICC said that is irrelevant.
Here is a Q&A with ICC President Piotr Hofmanski edited lightly for clarity:
Al Jazeera: Russia says it does not recognise the ICC. It signed the Rome Statute but never ratified it. What does this mean for Putin?
Hofmanski: This is completely irrelevant [the fact that Russia hasn’t ratified the Rome Statute]. According to the ICC statute, which has 123 state parties, two-thirds of the whole international community, the court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territory of a state party or a state which has accepted its jurisdiction. Ukraine has accepted the ICC twice – in 2014 and then in 2015.
Forty-three states have referred the situation in Ukraine to the court, which means that they have formally triggered our jurisdiction. The court has jurisdiction over crimes committed on anyone on the territory of Ukraine from November 2013 onwards regardless of nationality of the alleged perpetrators.