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World News | Nations urged to unite in support of Ukraine court probe

LONDON, March 20 (AP) — Ukrainian judicial officials and International Criminal Court prosecutors called on countries around the world Monday to increase funding and support for global court investigations into Ukraine’s alleged war crimes to ensure Russia is held accountable.

Justice ministers from more than 40 countries are heading to London for a war crimes conference co-hosted by the UK and the Netherlands, aiming to build support for an International Criminal Court investigation into alleged atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

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The meeting came days after a global court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being personally responsible for the abduction of Ukrainian children.

Friday’s move was the first time a court has issued an arrest warrant for the leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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“We all believe that President Putin and the wider leadership must be held accountable,” British justice secretary Dominic Raab said at the opening of the meeting. “Let’s make sure we back our words with deeds and our moral support with practical ways to effectively investigate these horrific crimes.”

Britain has pledged an additional £395,000 ($484,000) to support the ICC, bringing its funding for the court to £1m.

The British government said it expected other countries to also pledge funding for the court’s investigation.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said the warrant for Putin’s arrest was not a triumphant moment but a “somber moment” that reminded the world of the need for united action to bring justice to Ukraine.

“If we don’t follow the law at this point in world affairs, if we don’t look at ourselves and think about how we can do better … we’re not only going to miss out on opportunities, we probably won’t have more opportunities,” Khan said.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andrei Kostin said the abduction and transport of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia was part of Russia’s “clear plan” to “destroy Ukraine and Ukrainian identity”.

He added that his office had opened investigations into more than 72,000 incidents of war crimes in his country.

Kostin also urged world leaders to support the creation of a special international tribunal to investigate and prosecute Russian leaders for broader crimes of aggression.

The European Union and others support the idea, although some fear such a tribunal could undermine the ICC’s mandate.

An arrest warrant against Putin could damage his international standing, but its practical impact may be limited, not least because Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.

Russian officials dismissed the ICC’s move as “legally invalid”. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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