Mar 18, 2023

By Angus Gillespie

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The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor believes Russian President Vladimir Putin should stand trial for alleged crimes committed during Russia’s bloody war with neighbouring Ukraine. Putin and Russian officials disagree profusely.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan pointed to historic trials of Nazi war criminals, former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević, and former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, among others.

“All of them were mighty, powerful individuals and yet they found themselves in courtrooms,” he said in an interview.

The ICC has now issued arrest warrants for Putin and another high-ranking Russian official for an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia. In response, Russia has admitted to the scheme, but insists it is to save the children.

With this unprecedented move by the ICC, Putin becomes the first head of state of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to ever be issued such a warrant.

The ICC is often referred to as the international “court of last resort.” Though 123 countries are parties to the treaty that brought the court into existence, there are significant exceptions including Russia, the United States, Ukraine, and China. Russia withdrew from the ICC treaty under a directive signed by Putin seven years ago.

Thousands of Ukrainian children have been subjected to forced deportations by Russia, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who hailed the ICC’s decision in his nightly address on Friday.

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