Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has been issued an arrest warrant by Russia over war crimes charges filed against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The warrant was reportedly issued in retaliation for Khan’s preparation of an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges earlier this year.
According to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency, Khan has been added to the wanted list of the Interior Ministry, as stated in the ministry’s database. The Investigative Committee of Russia, responsible for handling major crimes, had previously announced an investigation into Khan for the “criminal prosecution of a person known to be innocent,” referring to the war crime charges against Putin. Russian investigators also claimed that Khan was being probed for allegedly planning an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection.
The notice describing Khan listed his birthplace as Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 30, 1970, but did not specify his offense.
The criminal probe against Khan was initiated by Russia after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin over accusations of war crimes related to the unlawful deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. The ICC also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights.
The ICC asserted that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the abductions of Ukrainian children and his failure to exercise proper control over those who committed the acts. Following the issuance of the arrest warrants, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to target the war crimes court in The Hague with hypersonic missiles, prompting the ICC to express concern. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later criticized the ICC as a “puppet in the hands of the so-called collective West,” according to the Moscow Times.
Russia, which is not a member of the ICC, has declared the warrant against Khan as “void.”
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin hailed the ICC’s decision to issue the arrest warrants, stating that it sends a signal that the Russian regime and its leadership will be held accountable. He described the ICC’s move as a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire international legal system.