Russia’s highest investigative agency charged the International Criminal Court prosecutor and judges who issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin on war crimes accusations on Monday.
The move was symbolic defiance three days after the ICC charged Putin and his children’s commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova of war crimes for deporting Ukrainian children to Russia.
According to the state Investigative Committee, Putin had no criminal accountability, and a 1973 U.N. treaty granted leaders of complete state protection.
The committee ruled the ICC prosecutor committed Russian law offenses, including willfully charging an innocent person.
“Preparing an assault on a representative of a foreign state having international protection, in order to complicate international relations,” the prosecutor and judges were accused.
The Kremlin declared the warrant absurd but legally worthless because Russia did not ratify the ICC pact. On Monday, they called the court’s decision “obvious animosity” toward Russia and Putin.
The Russian inquiry targets ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and justices Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala, and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez.
“There is no criminal culpability,” the Russian statement claimed.
If Putin enters their country, the ICC’s 123 member nations must arrest and extradite him to The Hague.
Putin is unlikely to take that risk, and Russia does not extradite its nationals. Still, the uncommon effort against a serving president was a symbolic step to hold him accountable for his invasion of Ukraine.
Since the war began over 13 months ago, Ukraine claims over 16,000 children have been unlawfully moved to Russia or Russian-occupied territory.
Russia claims to have transferred hundreds of Ukrainian youngsters to Russia in a humanitarian effort to safeguard orphans and abandoned children in the combat zone.