ICC prosecutor confident he can snare Putin on war crimes charges
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The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) top lawyer is confident he can bring Vladimir Putin to justice. Karim Khan KC, who joined the court as chief prosecutor in 2021, is responsible for ensuring the Russian premier is brought up on charges that he oversaw the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine. But Russia does not recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction, nor does it extradite citizens charged with crimes by other nations. The only way it seems the court could charge him, is if he set foot in one of the 120 nations that do recognise its authority. Speaking to the AFP news agency, Mr Khan said prosecutors have another option, a mechanism named “confirmation in absence”.
He told the Sunday Times the ICC uses this on those who “thumb their nose at justice” or “flee jurisdiction or wantonly refuse to surrender”. The prosecutor explained that it paves the way for judicial proceedings where “witnesses and other evidence can be heard and scrutinised by independent judges and a determination made”. In this case, the person pursued by the ICC goes “straight to trial”.
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South Africa ‘aware of its legal obligations’ to arrest Putin
South Africa has said it is aware of its obligations regarding Vladimir Putin.
The country will receive the Russian premier in August this year for a BRICS conference meeting.
As a country that recognises the ICC, the country is obligated to hand over people subject to arrest warrants issued by The Hague.
Vincent Magwenya, the spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the government has this in mind.
He said: “We are, as the government, cognisant of our legal obligation.
“However, between now and the summit we will remain engaged with various relevant stakeholders.”
He added: “We note the report on the warrant of arrest that the ICC has issued.
“It remains South Africa’s commitment and very strong desire that the conflict in Ukraine is resolved peacefully through negotiations.”
Ukrainian MP brands Putin a ‘war criminal’
A Ukrainian MP has spoken out following Putin’s visit to Mariupol.
Oleksii Honcharenko condemned the visit in a statement on Telegram today, branding him a “war criminal”.
He suggested that the Russian premier may have been “afraid”.
He said: “Did the war criminal come to see with his own eyes the genocide he committed in Mariupol?
“Why at night? Are we afraid?”
Putin makes visit to Russian command post
Russian state media is reporting that Putin has made a visit to a Russian command centre this morning.
He held a meeting at the military command in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, according to TASS.
The Kyiv Independent also reported that Putin made his trip to Mariupol by helicopter on March 18.
The visit was made on the same day he appeared in Russian occupied Crimea, marking nine years since Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian territory.
Experts cast doubt on Putin visit to Mariupol
Experts have cast doubt on aspects of Vladimir Putin’s surprise visit to occupied Mariupol.
The Russian premier appeared in the region yesterday for a visit, his first bringing him close to the invasion frontlines.
But, while people acknowledge that he was likely there in person – as opposed to leaving the task to a body double -they doubt that every aspect of the visit was genuine.
Euan MacDonald, the editor-at-large for the New Voice of Ukraine, admitted it was “probable” he was in Ukraine on Saturday night.
In a tweet, he suggested the flats toured by the Russian premier were “all for show”, and he questioned whether the residents he met were real locals.
Propaganda expert and Ukrainian presidential advisor Anton Gerashchenko posted side-by-side photos of Putin sitting apart from his officials on a long table and a shot from the Mariupol visit.
He also questioned whether the locals were genuine in a brief tweet.
He asked: “Is he scared of his officials more than of Mariupol’s ‘residents’?”
Russian authorities declare new ‘temporary’ capital of occupied Zaporizhzhia
Russian authorities in occupied Zaporizhzhia have declared Melitopol the oblast capital.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, in its latest intelligence update, that the move is temporary as Russian fighters attempt to capture new areas of the region.
Officials aim to keep this status in place until the city of Zaporizhzhia is “controlled by Russia”, the ministry said.
The oblast is one of four Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed in September 2022, but western nations do not recognise this claim.
The update adds: “Russia has never occupied Zaporizhzhia city, a major industrial centre of 700,000 people, which is approximately 35km from the current front line.
“The quiet declaration of an alternative capital is likely tacit acknowledgement within the Russian system that its forces are highly unlikely to seize previously planned major objectives in the near future.”
Good morning from London. I’m Liam Doyle, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the Ukraine war. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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