According to the US-based The Hill newspaper, US President Joe Biden stated on Friday (local time) that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is justified in issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on allegations of war crimes. “Well, I think it’s justified,” Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for Delaware. “But the question is, it’s not recognized internationally by us either. But I think it makes a very strong point.”
On being asked whether Putin should be tried for war crimes, Biden did not directly answer but said the Russian leader has “clearly committed war crimes.” The ICC had earlier on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Putin and another Russian official. The warrant is believed to be one of the first charges against Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, part of a global effort to hold the Russian president and the Russian Federation accountable for atrocities beginning with the full-scale February 2022 invasion.
Putin is named in the warrant for alleged war crimes. The warrant cites him and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied territory to Russia. The Kremlin blasted the allegations, noting it does not cooperate with the ICC.
“We consider the very posing of the question outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court, and, accordingly, any decisions of this kind are null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of the law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tweeted on Friday, The Hill reported. The United States is no longer a party to the ICC and does not recognize its authority.
Last month, US Vice President Kamala Harris told an international security conference that the U.S. had formally determined Russia had committed crimes against humanity, arguing Russian soldiers had conducted widespread attacks against Ukrainian civilians that included murder, torture, and rape. Next week, Putin is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. US officials have warned that China may be considering providing support to Russia for its war effort in Ukraine, according to The Hill.
Asked about his expectations for the meeting between Xi and Putin, Biden said, “We’ll see when that meeting takes place.”