ICC preparing first arrest warrants for Russia’s Ukraine war crimes: reports

FILE – The exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. The International Criminal Court marked the 20th anniversary of its establishment Friday, July 1, 2022, as its prosecutors probed war crimes in countries around the world including what one expert called a “make or break” investigation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is preparing its first arrest warrants linked to war crimes cases for Russian officials, according to reports. 

The New York Times and Reuters reported that ICC prosecutors are pursuing two war crimes cases for the forced deportation and alleged abduction of Ukrainian children and for attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.

The arrest warrants could be OK’d shortly if Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan’s requests are approved by a pretrial ICC judge. The specific targets of the warrants weren’t identified in the reports, but the Times noted that they included “several” people, and Reuters specified “Russian officials.”

The war crimes cases, if opened, would be the first to arise from Russia’s war on Ukraine, which crossed into its second year last month. The ICC has long been probing potential war crimes in the conflict.

“There seems to be a lot of damage in Ukraine, and it may well be it is part of a policy and part of a plan and we need to get to the bottom of it and see whether or not there is criminal responsibility and if there is we have an International Criminal Court that has jurisdiction to look into it,” Khan said last month, as reported by CNN.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said just a month into the war that the U.S. had determined that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine. 

Vice President Harris said last month at the annual Munich Security Conference that the United States formally determined that Russia has “committed crimes against humanity” and vowed to hold perpetrators to account. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier this month that more than 70,000 Russian war crimes have been documented since the invasion began.

Tags Antony Blinken International Criminal Court russia Russia-Ukraine war ukraine

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