The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin has “no meaning” for the country, “including from a “legal point of view” as the nation had withdrawn from the ICC treaty in 2016, a spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs said, CNN reported.
Rejecting the warrant on Friday, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs, said, “Russia is not a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible [pretences] for arrest coming from the International Court of Justice will be legally null and void for us.” Meanwhile, former Russian President and deputy chair of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, compared the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin to toilet paper.
Taking to Twitter, Medvedev said, “The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin. No need to explain WHERE this paper should be used,” with the toilet paper emoji.
Earlier, ICC on Friday issued an arrest warrant against Russian President and Russian official Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova for the alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia, reported CNN.
The Hague-based ICC accused the Russian president of responsibility for war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine during the war that has been ongoing for over a year.
The Hague-based court said in a statement on Friday that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.
It also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in the office of the president of the Russian Federation on similar allegations, reported Al Jazeera.
Russia did not immediately comment following the ICC’s move on Friday. Russia denies committing atrocities since it invaded Ukraine in February last year.
The warrants came a day after a United Nations-backed inquiry accused Russia of committing wide-ranging war crimes in Ukraine, including the forced deportations of children in areas it controls, reported Al Jazeera.
The UN genocide convention defines “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” as one of five acts that can be prosecuted as genocide.
However, the successful extradition of President Putin could prove a far greater challenge as Russia does not recognise the jurisdiction of the international criminal court in The Hague, reported DW News.
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 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.