US President Joe Biden has called the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Russian President Vladimir Putin justified. "I think that makes a very strong point," Biden said after an event in Washington on Friday, according to reporters. Putin had clearly committed war crimes, Biden said. However, the International Criminal Court is not recognized worldwide, "not even by us," the president added.
The ICC, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant against Putin on Friday for war crimes in Ukraine. The investigators hold him responsible for the abduction of children from occupied Ukrainian to Russian territory.
The ICC dates back to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which was created through UN-led negotiations. In addition to Russia, the US and China do not recognize the court. As a reason for this, lawyers often cite that these states want to protect their political leaders and soldiers from the access of the judiciary. In total, more than 120 states have ratified the Rome Statute.
On the question of whether Putin would be arrested on the basis of the arrest warrant of the ICC, should he travel to the United States, said the communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, on Friday evening (local time) in the channel CNN evasive. In any case, he considers it unlikely that Putin will come.
Zelenskyi: "historic decision"
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has praised the arrest warrant against Putin as a "historic decision" by the International Criminal Court. "The leader of a terrorist state and another Russian official are officially suspects in a war crime," Zelenskyi said in a video message distributed in Kiev on Friday evening.
Thousands of Ukrainian children were illegally deported, Zelenskyj said. The Ukrainian authorities have registered at least 16,000 cases. "But the true total number of deportees could be much higher," Zelensky said. Around 300 children have been returned to Ukraine so far.
Moscow denies war crimes and stresses that the children were brought to safety before the war - which in Russia can only be called a "military special operation". Ukraine, on the other hand, accuses the Russian aggressor of forcibly "Russifying" the children. "It would be impossible to carry out such a criminal operation without the order of the supreme leader of the terrorist state," Zelensky said. He has long complained that children are being robbed of their Ukrainian identity through re-education and indoctrination.
"The separation of children from their families, depriving them of any possibility of contact with their loved ones, hiding them on Russian territory, distributing them to distant regions – all this is obviously Russian state policy, it is state decisions, it is state evil," Zelensky said. Responsible is the first man in the state, he said, without naming Putin.
Zelenskyj thanked the team around the chief prosecutor of the court in The Hague, Karim Khan, for the step, which makes it possible to punish the guilty. Ukraine, in turn, will do everything to bring back the abducted girls and boys, Zelenskyj said.