According to The New York Times, the International Criminal Court plans to open two cases investigating war crimes conducted by Russian forces against Ukraine. Arrest warrants will be sought for several individuals, the NYT reports, citing current and former officials.
The cases are related to the Russian abduction of Ukrainian children and teenagers who were sent to Russian so-called "reeducation" camps and the deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure.
The cases emerged after months of work by special investigative teams. These will be the first international charges brought forward since Russia's full-scale war began in February 2022.
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, must first present his charges to a panel of pre-trial investigation judges, who will decide whether the legal rules for issuing arrest warrants have been met or whether investigators need more evidence.
It is still unclear who exactly the court plans to indict.
When asked to confirm the requests for arrest warrants, the prosecutor’s office said, “we do not publicly discuss specifics related to ongoing investigations.”
According to some diplomats and experts, there is a possibility that charges may be brought against Russian President Vladimir Putin, since the court does not recognize the “immunity of the head of state” in cases related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, NYT writes.
At the same time, they consider the probability of a trial to be low as the court cannot hear cases in absentia, and Russia is unlikely to surrender its own officials.
Prior, on March 4, the European Union helped take the first step towards setting up a dedicated tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes against Ukraine.