Russian Officials Liken ICC's 'Warrant' on Putin to Toilet Paper, Demand 'Arrest' of ICC Judges
17:49 GMT 17.03.2023 (Updated: 18:04 GMT 17.03.2023)
The International Criminal Court put out "orders of arrest" against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the presidential children’s rights commissioner on Friday over the alleged "unlawful deportation" of children from the Ukraine conflict zone. Moscow dismissed the warrants, saying The Hague's decrees were "legally null and void."
Senior Russian officials rushed to comment on the ICC’s arrest warrants against Vladimir Putin and presidential rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova with a mix of anger, sarcasm and wit, slamming The Hague over its nonsensical decisions and emphasizing that the allegations aren’t worth the paper they're printed on.
“It’s great that the international community has appreciated the work to help the children of our country,” Maria Lvova-Belova told reporters on Friday evening.
The official said she’s already been slapped with sanctions by a number of countries for her organization’s work taking children out of the war zone, creating good conditions for them in safe areas, and surrounding them with loving, caring people. "I wonder what will happen next? But we'll continue to work," she added.
Former Russian President and Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev summed up the "arrest warrant" with a single emoji, tweeting that there’s "no need to explain WHERE this paper should be used," accompanying the comment with a toilet paper icon.
Andrey Klishas, chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s committee on constitutional legislation and state construction, emphasized that the ICC’s warrants have "no legal basis or effect" in Russia. “Russia needs to immediately issue an arrest warrant for all ICC 'judges,'" the lawmaker quipped in a Telgram post.
"Today the jurisdiction of the ICC is unrecognized not only by Russia, but also by a number of members of the UN Security Council. Having made such an absurd decision, the ICC has embarked on the path of self-destruction," Klishas added.
The senator’s comments were echoed by Vladimir Dzhabarov, another senior Federation Council lawmaker, who recommended that Moscow’s Basmanniy Court issue an order for the arrest of ICC judges "for inflaming the situation in the world with its provocative, illegal actions."
Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader and former Ukraine peace talks negotiator Leonid Slutsky suggested that the ICC had gotten it wrong, and that they should have issued arrest warrants "for Zelensky, his gang and their Western backers," who are the "real war criminals" in the Ukraine crisis.
Slutsky said the court’s decision was not only evidence of "double standards," resulting in the "complete politicization and discrediting" of The Hague, but based on accusations which cannot even be characterized as "absurd," since Lvova-Belova and other Russian authorities "managed to save a huge number of children, many of whom lost their homes and parents, or were injured during shelling by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis." The politician suggested Friday’s decision was made strictly for "propaganda effect" in the West.
For his part, Crimean Senator Sergey Tsekov told Sputnik that the ICC’s decision demonstrated the "insignificance" of Western institutions. "To totally discredit this structure, it was necessary to make this kind of decision. They show how worthless and insignificant the institutions created by the West are," Tsekov said, assuring that Russia will not face any "legal consequences" from these decisions.
Finally, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that even raising the question about the arrest of the Russian head of state was “outrageous and unacceptable,” and that “Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court,” which means that “accordingly, any decisions of this kind are null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of the law.”
The Hague's "warrants of arrest" accuse Putin and Lvova-Belova of illegally deporting children "from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation" from 2022 onward. Russian officials and diplomats have publicly highlighted Moscow's efforts to relocate civilians, including children, away from front line areas, where they often face indiscriminate shelling attacks by Ukrainian forces on civilian infrastructure.