Russian Investigative Committee opens criminal case against ICC prosecutor and judges for issuing arrest warrant for Putin


20th March 2023 – (Moscow) Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on Monday that it has launched a criminal case against the prosecutor and judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Committee accused ICC prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan, judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Salvatore Aitala, and Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez of illegal activities.

The case against the prosecutor was opened on charges of criminal prosecution of an innocent person with illegal charges of committing a grave or especially grave crime. The judges were accused of illegal imprisonment and plotting an attack on a foreign official enjoying international protection with the aim of aggravating international relations.

According to the Committee, the judges’ verdicts were returned illegally, and the criminal case is knowingly unlawful. The Investigative Committee stressed that there are no grounds for bringing the prosecutor and judges to criminal responsibility.

The criminal case was initiated after ICC prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan lodged a motion with the ICC Pre-Trial Division for issuing a warrant for the arrest of Russian citizens, including the Russian President and children’s rights ombudswoman. The ICC judges issued verdicts on the arrest of these individuals, which the Russian Investigative Committee considers illegal.

The Russian Investigative Committee emphasized that heads of state, including President Putin, enjoy absolute immunity from the jurisdiction of foreign states, as outlined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons dated December 14, 1973.

The criminal case initiated by the Russian Investigative Committee has drawn criticism from the international community. The European Union has expressed concern over the move and urged Russia to cooperate with the ICC. The United Nations has also called on Russia to respect the independence of the ICC and its mandate to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The ICC has stated that it will continue to carry out its work without fear or favour, and that the court’s judges and staff are entitled to judicial independence and protection. The ICC has also reiterated that it is not a party to the criminal case initiated by the Russian Investigative Committee.