What is the International Criminal Court?

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the war crime of illegally deporting children from Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court, in its first notice against Ukraine, called for the arrest of Putin on suspicion of illegal deportation of children and illegal transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

Russia, which is not a party to the court, said the move made no sense.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces committed atrocities during its invasion of its neighbour.

Here are some facts about the International Criminal Court:

* The International Criminal Court 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 includes 123 member states. The budget for 2023 is around €170m (A$270m).

* The ICC is conducting 17 investigations, ranging from Ukraine and African countries such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya to Venezuela in Latin America and Asian countries, 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 issued 38 arrest warrants.

* 21 people have been held in the ICC Detention Center and have appeared before the court. 14 people are still at large. Charges against five people were dropped due to their deaths. Judges issued 10 convictions and four acquittals.

* The International Criminal Court has indicted five men for war crimes and crimes against humanity, all African militia leaders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Uganda. The sentences range from nine to 30 years in prison. The maximum possible penalty is life imprisonment.

* One of the top fugitives is former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide in Darfur. The first former head of state to appear before the International Criminal Court, former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, was acquitted of all charges in 2019 after a three-year trial.

Although the court has the support of many members of the United Nations and the European Union, other major powers such as the United States, China and Russia are not members, arguing that it could be used for politically motivated prosecutions.

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

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