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International Criminal Court Intends To Open War Crimes Cases Against Russia

The International Criminal Court intends
to open two war crimes cases tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will seek arrest warrants for several people, officials said. They are the first international charges to be brought forward since the start of the conflict, and it was not clear whom the court planned to charge in each case. The charges allege that Russia abducted Ukrainian children and sent them to Russian re-education camps and that the Kremlin deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure. Some outside experts said it was possible that Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, 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. The Kremlin has denied accusations of war crimes, but international and Ukrainian investigators have gathered powerful evidence of an array of atrocities since the invasion’s early days. The chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, must present his charges to pretrial judges who will decide whether the legal standards have been met for issuing arrest warrants, or whether investigators need more evidence. Still, the likelihood of a trial remains slim, as the court cannot hear cases in absentia and Russia is unlikely to surrender its officials. Moscow’s forces have stepped up artillery and infantry assaults across eastern Ukraine, trying to improve their position before either side attempts a major breakthrough.

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