Putin ‘to be held accountable’ for war crimes in Ukraine at summit

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Justice ministers are set to touch down in London from across the globe for a summit designed to back the International Criminal Court’s efforts to investigate alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The meeting comes after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, accusing him of directly being responsible for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

The British Government has pledged to increase financial support for the court to £1 million this year, and other countries are expected to offer financial and practical assistance as well.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius, will host the meeting with representatives from more than 40 countries anticipated.

Justice Secretary Mr Raab said: “We are gathering in London today united by one cause to hold war criminals to account for the atrocities committed in Ukraine during this unjust, unprovoked and unlawful invasion.

“The UK, alongside the international community, will continue to provide the International Criminal Court with the funding, people and expertise to ensure justice is served.”

Sir Geoffrey Nice, a war crimes prosecutor who led the prosecution of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal, has said the ICC arrest warrant labels Vladimir Putin as a “wanted criminal”.

He told Sky News: “The label will stick with him for his life unless either he’s tried and acquitted or, almost inconceivable, the International Criminal Court withdraws the arrest warrant.

“And as a man labelled as a criminal in that way, he can’t travel to any of the countries that are signed up to the ICC or probably many other countries like America either.

“And he’s going to have to live with that until it’s resolved.”

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Sir Geoffrey added: “It may also of course mean that any powers in Moscow that want to see him toppled, and we sometimes hear that there are some, will feel emboldened.

“His own people may not want to be led by a man who is labelled as a war criminal.

“But for the time being those are the only immediate obvious concerns, but it’s a very, very important, and very welcome move, that the ICC has made.”

Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is due to meet with Vladimir Putin a political boost for the isolated Russian president after the International Criminal Court indictment.

Xi’s government gave no details of what the Chinese leader hoped to accomplish. Xi and Putin declared they had a “no-limits friendship” before the February 2022 attack on Ukraine, but China has tried to portray itself as neutral.

Beijing called for a cease-fire last month, but Washington said that would ratify the Kremlin’s battlefield gains.

The Chinese government said Xi would visit Moscow from Monday to Wednesday but gave no indication whether he had left. The Russian government said Xi was due to arrive at midday and meet later with Putin.

Ahead of the meeting, China’s foreign ministry called on the ICC to “respect the jurisdictional immunity” of a head of state and “avoid politicization and double standards.”

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