Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), sees it possible that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, faces trial for alleged war crimes, he said on Friday, March 17th, in an interview with CNN.
“Those who believe it is impossible” for the Russian leader to be held accountable for acts committed in Ukraine “do not understand history,” Khan said in statements to the U.S. media.
The prosecutor cited the Nuremberg Trials (1954-1946) for war crimes in Nazi Germany and the Rwandan genocide trial as examples.
“All of them (involved) powerful and imposing individuals and yet they ended up in court,” Khan added.
The prosecutor also noted that, through the arrest warrant for Putin issued by the ICC earlier Friday, a clear message is meant to be sent: “No one should feel that they can commit genocide or crimes against humanity with impunity.“
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president as “allegedly responsible” for the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children and their transfer from occupied areas in Ukraine to Russia, which amounts to a war crime under the court’s treaty known as the Rome Statute.
The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber also issued a second arrest warrant for Russian politician Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on the same charge.
Both arrest warrants are the first of their kind issued by the ICC in the context of its investigation into possible war crimes committed by Russia in the conflict with Ukraine.
The Russian government called the arrest warrant “outrageous“, “inadmissible” and “legally void“, as Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.