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Russia places third ICC official on its wanted list

Russia has placed a third official at the International Criminal Court on its wanted list after the ICC accused President Vladimir Putin of war crimes in Ukraine, the state news agency TASS reported on Thursday (Jul 27).

Judge Tomoko Akane was listed as “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation” in the online database of Russia’s interior ministry, but with no mention of her alleged crime.

The ICC issued arrest warrants in March for Putin and his children’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine – a war crime.

Russia acknowledges having transferred thousands of children out of Ukraine but says this has been done exclusively to protect orphans and children abandoned in the war zone.

Russia responded to the ICC warrant three days later by opening criminal cases against ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and judges who ordered Putin’s arrest, including Akane and the Italian Rosario Salvatore Aitala.

Khan and Aitala were placed on Russia’s wanted list in May and June respectively.

Akane, a Japanese national, has served as one of 18 judges on the ICC since 2018, according to the court’s website. Prior to that, she was Japan’s ambassador for international judicial cooperation and also served as a public prosecutor.

The ICC said it stood by a statement issued in May, after Khan was placed on the list, where it said it was “profoundly concerned about unwarranted and unjustified coercive measures reportedly taken against ICC officials”.

It said it would remain “undeterred in the conduct of its lawful mandate to ensure accountability for the gravest crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”.

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