ICC regrets Russia’s ‘threats’ over war crimes arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

ICC regrets Russia’s ‘threats’ over war crimes arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

The legislative body of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it regrets Russia’s threats against it after The Hague-based international tribunal issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev had reportedly made threats of bombing the war crimes court with hypersonic missiles.

On Monday, Mr Medvedev, who is a close ally of Mr Putin, said: “It’s quite possible to imagine a hypersonic missile being fired from the North Sea from a Russian ship at The Hague courthouse.”

“Everyone walks under God and rockets… Look carefully to the sky…”

The statement by ICC’s Assembly of States Parties on Wednesday also raised concerns over Russia’s top investigative body opening up a criminal case against ICC prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan and several ICC judges over the issuance of the arrest warrant.

The warrant prompted the Russian Investigative Committee to open a case against Mr Khan on the grounds of “criminal prosecution of a person known to be innocent... and preparation of an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection”.

“The presidency of the assembly regrets these attempts to hinder international efforts to ensure accountability for acts that are prohibited under general international law,” the Assembly of States Parties, which is the management and oversight legislative body for the ICC, said in a statement.

It also reaffirmed its “unwavering support for the International Criminal Court”.

“The International Criminal Court embodies our collective commitment to fight impunity for the gravest international crimes. As an institution of last resort, the Court is complementary to national jurisdictions. We call on all States to respect its judicial and prosecutorial independence,” it said.

The 123-member ICC last week accused Mr Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine by illegally deporting hundreds of children.

The unprecedented legal move will obligate the court’s 123 member states to arrest Mr Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.

Moscow has dismissed the court orders as “void”.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Wednesday called all ICC member countries to comply with the arrest warrant.

“I think anyone who’s a party to the court and has obligations should fulfill their obligations,” Mr Blinken said when asked by US senator Lindsey Graham at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, if he would encourage European allies to “turn over” Mr Putin.