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Judge who issued warrant for Putin becomes head of International Criminal Court

by Elsa Court March 11, 2024 8:59 PM 2 min read
International Criminal Court First Vice-President Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, President Judge Tomoko Akane, and Second Vice-President Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou, who were elected on March 11, 2024. (International Criminal Court)
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International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Tomoko Akane, who was placed on a Russian wanted list after issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2023, was elected president of the ICC on March 11.

The ICC issued arrest warrants on March 17, 2023, for Putin and Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for the forced deportations of more than 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.

Within days, Russia's Investigative Committee said that it had opened a case against ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and judges Tomoko Akane, Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, and Rosario Salvatore Aitala.

All three judges and Khan are included on the Russian Internal Ministry's wanted persons list.

The ICC also elected Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala as first vice president on March 11.

According to the court, the president and two vice presidents play "a key role in providing strategic leadership to the ICC as a whole." The court elected Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou as the second vice president.

Akane said that one of her priorities as president will be "the security and well-being of the Court's personnel," and she will focus on "reinforcing the dialogue with States Parties and States that have not yet ratified the Rome Statute."

Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 following its criticism of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

The newest state party is Armenia, which formally joined the ICC in February 2024, making it the 124th country that is obliged to arrest Putin if he enters its territory.

"At this challenging time for the Court, stable, collaborative, and unified leadership is required," Akane said.

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Russian military commanders
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for two Russian military commanders for carrying out strikes on Ukrainian electricity infrastructure during the winter of 2022 to 2023, the court announced on March 5.
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