[Al Jazeera] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed concern over “threats” from Russia following its issuing of a war crimes arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.
The ICC’s statement of concern on Wednesday came after former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to hit the war crimes court in The Hague with hypersonic missiles. It also followed Russia’s top investigative body opening a criminal case against ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan as well as the judges who issued the warrant for Putin.
The presidency of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties said it “regrets these attempts to hinder international efforts to ensure accountability for acts that are prohibited under general international law”.
The assembly also “reaffirms its unwavering support for the International Criminal Court”, the presidency said.
“The International Criminal Court embodies our collective commitment to fight impunity for the gravest international crimes. As an institution of last resort, the Court is complementary to national jurisdictions. We call on all States to respect its judicial and prosecutorial independence,” it added.
Medvedev said on Monday: “It’s quite possible to imagine a hypersonic missile being fired from the North Sea from a Russian ship at The Hague courthouse.”
He added: “Everyone walks under God and rockets… Look carefully to the sky…”
The ICC arrest warrant for Putin, issued on Friday, accuses the Russian leader of unlawfully deporting thousands of Ukrainian children, a war crime.
The legal move will obligate the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC, although Kyiv has granted the court jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory. The tribunal also has no police force of its own and relies on member states to make arrests.