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The Hague-based ICC accused the Russian president of responsibility for war crimes committed in Ukraine. How to successfully extradite Putin to face trial could prove a far greater challenge.

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, over responsibility for war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine during the war ongoing for over a year.

The international court based in The Hague said that Putin was suspected of responsibility for “the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others …, and (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility,”the ICC wrote in a Friday statement.

The court did not elaborate on how it intended to carry out the warrant. Russia tends not to cooperate with international extraditions, is not a full member of the ICC, and does not accept its jurisdiction.

The ICC said the warrant was issued based on an application submitted by the prosecution earlier in February.

The ICC also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges Putin was facing.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry quickly undermined the significance of the warrant. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the decision had “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 said in a statement on the messaging app Telegram.

Russia’s former president and Putin-confidante Dmitry Medvedev also ridiculed the impact of the arrest warrant.

“No need to explain WHERE this paper should be used,” Medvedev wrote, using the toilet paper emoji on Twitter.


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