UK supports ICC's warrant for Putin's arrest over Ukraine war crimes accusations

Westminster calls for accountability at top of Russian government

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says Russian leadership should be held accountable if atrocities were committed in Ukraine. EPA
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The UK has welcomed the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with alleged war crimes during the Ukraine conflict.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly spoke about the need to hold those in the highest levels of the Russian government accountable for illegal actions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said he believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin may one day appear in a war crimes court.

“It is, I suspect, going to be a long journey but people said that about Yugoslavia and Rwanda and many of those people responsible for the carnage ended up in the dock of a court,” said Mr Raab.

“In the short term, it will be very hard for President Putin to move around the world because there are so many countries who are parties to the ICC who will be duty bound to arrest him.”

Russia said the warrant was “legally void”.

Legal experts have pointed to past examples where international leaders have been brought before the ICC, indicating that there may be a long journey ahead, PA reported.

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer has expressed his support for the ICC's decision, calling it a clear message that there will be “no hiding place for Putin and his cronies”.

While there is no immediate prospect of Mr Putin facing arrest, Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's president Charles Taylor were tried in The Hague.

Milosevic died in March 2006 during his trial. In May 2012, Taylor was jailed for 50 years for 11 counts of war crimes and human rights violations.

Updated: March 18, 2023, 10:41 AM