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Media: Austria to arrest Putin if he visits

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 24, 2023 9:58 PM 1 min read
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Austria, as a party to the Rome Statute, is obliged to execute arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Austrian Justice Ministry told Ukrainian publication Ukrinform when asked if the country would arrest Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in case of his visit.

The ministry said, cited by Ukrinform, that the ICC already established in the 2019 case of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that even heads of state don't have immunity before the court.

"No one is above the law, which specifically means that every crime must be fully investigated. There must be no impunity," the Austrian officials told the publication.

On March 17, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Putin and Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of over 16,000 Ukrainian children to Russia.

The ICC asserts that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" Putin holds direct accountability for supervising the deportations and that he neglected to exert authority over Russian soldiers and civilians executing the crime across occupied Ukrainian regions from the onset of Russia's all-out war against Ukraine.

All 123 countries that are members of the ICC and have ratified the Rome Statute, which establishes crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the court, are now obliged to cooperate with the court's demand to arrest Putin.

Austria signed the Rome Statute in 1999 and ratified it in 2000.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on March 16 that Austria had joined the Core Group on the Special Tribunal for the Russian crime of aggression, increasing the total number of participants to 33.

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