Russia says it does not recognise Hague court amid reports of arrest warrants

International criminal court prosecutor is said to be preparing to formally open two war crimes cases

Pjotr SauerTue 14 Mar 2023

The prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine just over a year ago. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Moscow has said it does not recognise the jurisdiction of the international criminal court in The Hague, after reports that the court is expected to seek its first arrest warrants against Russian individuals over the war in Ukraine.

“We do not recognise this court; we do not recognise its jurisdiction,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday morning.

The New York Times and Reuters news agency reported on Monday that the prosecutor at the international criminal court (ICC) would formally open two war crimes cases and issue arrest warrants for several Russians deemed responsible for the mass abduction of Ukrainian children and the targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

If successful, it would be the first time ICC warrants have been issued in relation to the invasion of Ukraine.

Reports of imminent arrest warrants come just over a year after the prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine. Over the past 12 months, he has made three trips to the country and visited sites of alleged war crimes.

Russia denies deliberately harming civilians but its defence ministry has claimed to have targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Russia signed the Rome statute, which governs the ICC, in 2000 but never ratified the agreement to become a member. It formally withheld its signature from the founding statute of the ICC in 2016, a day after the court published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea as an occupation.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Kremlin has severed ties with several prominent international organisations, deepening the country’s isolation from the west.

In March last year, Russia left the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights watchdog, pre-empting an expected expulsion over its attack on Ukraine.

Moscow is also pulling out of the International Space Station after 2024 and has threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.


1 reply

  1. The problem I have with the ICC is that ‘selective justice’ is no real justice. How can we only look at crimes committed by Russia and not the ones committed by USA in Iraq, Afghanistan etc….

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