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New ICC chief on Putin: ‘Heaven's vengeance is slow but sure’

by Chris York March 20, 2024 6:46 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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The new head of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said she is confident Russian President Vladimir Putin will face justice for Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine.

In an interview with Kyodo News published on March 20, Tomoko Akane quoted a Chinese proverb when asked what fate awaits the Russian president.

“Heaven's vengeance is slow but sure,” she said.

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.

Akane was one of the judges behind the decision and was subsequently placed on Russia’s wanted list last month.

Akane was elected president of the ICC on March 11. As well the war in Ukraine, she is now dealing with the conflict in the Middle East, telling Kyodo News “There are many cases that require a response.”

The ICC is March also issued arrest warrants for two Russian military commanders for carrying out strikes on Ukrainian electricity infrastructure during the winter of 2022- 2023.

Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash and Admiral Viktor Sokolov "are each allegedly responsible" for a number of war crimes, including "directing attacks at civilian sites," the court said.

At the time of the alleged crimes, Kobylash was serving as commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force, and Sokolov as commander of the Black Sea Fleet, according to the court, which is based in The Hague.

‘Who are they fighting, children?’ Family of 5 killed in devastating Russian attack on Kharkiv
Editor’s Note: This story contains descriptions of graphic scenes. Yuliia Solomko couldn’t fall asleep late on the night of Feb. 9. Kharkiv, her hometown, was under yet another heavy Russian attack. Worse, she could hear explosions coming from the neighborhood where her best friend and her family…
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