Fri, 24 Mar 2023

Biden questions powers of ICC
18 Mar 2023, 10:39 GMT+10

The US leader has commented on "war crimes" allegations against his Russian counterpart

US President Joe Biden admitted on Friday that Washington does not recognize the International Criminal Court, but agreed with its claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin committed "war crimes" in Ukraine.

"Well, I think it's justified," Biden told the White House press corps before boarding a helicopter on Friday evening, when asked about the ICC. "But the question is, it's not recognized internationally by us, either. But I think it makes a very strong point."

Putin "clearly committed war crimes," Biden said in response to another reporter. He also claimed accusations of Chinese payments to members of his family were "not true," and that the banking crisis in the US has calmed down.

Earlier in the day, the Pre-trial Chamber of the Hague-based ICC accused Putin of "unlawful transfer of population," along with Russian children's rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova. The claim appears to be based on the Kiev government's interpretation of Russian efforts to evacuate children away from frontline areas that the Ukrainian military has targeted, often with NATO-supplied weapons.

The Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the announcement as meaningless, pointing out that Russia is not a party to the ICC's Rome Statute, and that the court has no jurisdiction in the country whatsoever.

Other Russian officials said the ICC had just self-destructed and demonstrated how "worthless and insignificant" Western-backed institutions have become. Former president and deputy chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev compared the ICC "warrant" to toilet paper.

Though the ICC was modeled after the US-backed "tribunals" for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Washington withdrew from it in 2002 and passed a law authorizing "all means necessary and appropriate" - including military force - to release any American, or national of an allied country, should they be detained by the court.

Some 45 states do not recognize the court's jurisdiction, including China, India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Trkiye.

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