International court to open first two war crimes cases against Russia, NYT reports
The International Criminal Court (Photo:The International Criminal Court)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) intends to open two war crimes cases tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will seek arrest warrants for several people, U.S. daily newspaper the New York Times reported on March 13.
According to the NYT, the cases represent the first international charges to be brought forward since the start of the conflict and come after months of work by special investigation teams. The cases allege that Russia abducted Ukrainian children and teenagers and sent them to Russian re-education camps, and that the Kremlin deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure.
The chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, must first present his charges to a panel of pretrial judges who will decide whether the legal standards have been met for issuing arrest warrants, or whether investigators need more evidence. It was not clear whom the court planned to charge in each case, the newspaper said.
“We do not publicly discuss specifics related to ongoing investigations,” the prosecutor’s office said, asked to confirm the requests for arrest warrants.
The NYT noted that some outside diplomats and experts said it was possible that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin could be charged, as the court does not recognize immunity for a head of state in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.
Still, the likelihood of a trial remains slim, experts say, as the court cannot hear cases in absentia and Russia is unlikely to surrender its own officials.
On April 2, 2022, Khan announced his decision to immediately proceed with active investigations into the situation in Ukraine after he had received referrals from 39 ICC member states.
Ukraine calls for the creation of a special tribunal to bring to justice for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The idea was subsequently supported by the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
According to Ukraine’s Internal Ministry, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 64,986 criminal investigations have been opened to examine the crimes committed by Russian forces and their accomplices.
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