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ICC to Open War Crimes Cases Against Russians – Report

Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro. Dsns.gov.ua

Updated to add the Kremlin's response.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will open two cases against Russian officials over the invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times reported on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the office of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said it "offers no comment about this story."

In its report, The New York Times said the first case involved Russia's alleged abduction of Ukrainian children, who were then sent for adoption or to re-education camps.

The second case alleges that Russian forces deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure such as power plants with missile attacks.

The court would also seek arrest warrants for several people, the Times said, citing anonymous current and former court officials, and gave no details of who would be charged and when.

The Hague-based ICC launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out in Ukraine just days after Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Prosecutor Khan said earlier this month after a visit to Ukraine that the alleged abductions of children "are being investigated by my office as a priority."

"Children cannot be treated as the spoils of war," he said in a statement on March 7.

Posting a picture of himself alongside empty cots, Khan said he had visited a care home for children in southern Ukraine that was "empty, a result of alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation" or other occupied areas.

Khan also confirmed that the ICC was investigating attacks on "critical civilian infrastructure" in Ukraine and that he had visited the sites of several such strikes.

Along with Ukraine's prosecutor general, "we underlined our collective commitment to ensure that such acts are fully investigated and those responsible for alleged international crimes held to account," he added.

The ICC prosecutor added in the statement that he had a "sense that the momentum towards justice is accelerating."

Khan has previously described Ukraine as a "crime scene," and has also visited the town of Bucha where AFP journalists saw at least 20 bodies lying in a street.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC, but Kyiv has accepted the court's jurisdiction and is working with Khan's office.

The Kremlin on Tuesday reiterated its rejection of ICC rulings, with state media quoting spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying: “We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize its jurisdiction.”

Russia denies allegations of war crimes by its troops. Experts have said it is unlikely it would ever hand over any suspects.

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