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Factbox: What is the International Criminal Court?

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An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.

In its first warrant for Ukraine, the ICC called for Putin’s arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

Russia, which is not a party to the court, said the move was meaningless. Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during its invasion of its neighbour.

Here are some facts about the ICC.

* The ICC was established in 2002 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression when member states are unwilling or unable to do so themselves. It can prosecute crimes committed by nationals of member states or on the territory of member states by other actors. It has 123 member states. The budget for 2023 is about 170 million euros.

* The ICC is conducting 17 investigations, ranging from Ukraine and African states such as Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya to Venezuela in Latin America and Asian nations, such as Myanmar and the Philippines, according to its website.

* The ICC website says there have so far been 31 cases before the court, with some cases having more than one suspect. ICC judges have issued 38 arrest warrants.

* Twenty-one people have been held in the ICC detention centre and have appeared before the court. Fourteen people remain at large. Charges have been dropped against five people due to their deaths. The judges have issued 10 convictions and four acquittals.

* The ICC has convicted five men of war crimes and crimes against humanity, all African militia leaders from Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Uganda. Terms range from nine to 30 years in prison. The maximum possible term is life imprisonment.

* A top fugitive is former Sudanese leader Omar al Bashir, wanted for genocide in Darfur. The first former head of state ever to appear before the ICC, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, was acquitted of all charges in 2019 after a three-year trial.

* Although the court is supported by many United Nations members and the European Union, other major powers like the United States, China and Russia are not members, arguing it could be used for politically motivated prosecutions.

* The Ukraine investigation opened on March 2, 2022, and its focus is alleged crimes committed in the context of the situation in Ukraine since Nov. 21, 2013, according to the ICC website. Protests erupted in 2013 against then President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia when he was ousted in 2014.

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