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ICC Judges Issue Arrest Warrant For Putin Over Ukraine



Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks during his visit to the joint headquarters of the military branches of the Russian armed forces involved in the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, at an unspecified location in Russia, on December 17, 2022. Kremlin Press Office / Handout / Anadolu Agency

The International Criminal Court on Friday announced it had issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.

The Hague-based ICC said it had also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges.

Russia is not a member of the ICC. It was unclear how the ICC planned to enforce the warrant.

“Today, pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova,” the ICC said in a statement.

Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

The ICC said the crimes dated from February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” it said.

Putin was allegedly responsible both directly by committing the acts and for “failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission.”

The arrest warrants are being kept secret to protect victims and witnesses, it said.

The ICC is a court of last resort for crimes that countries cannot or will not prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine just days after Russia’s invasion.

– ‘Spoils of war’ –
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 are members of the ICC, but Kyiv has accepted the court’s jurisdiction and is working with Khan’s office.

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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3-Year-Old Girl Kills 4-Year-Old Sister In Accidental Shooting At Texas



A three-year-old girl in Houston, Texas, United States, has accidentally shot and killed her sister, 4, after finding a loaded semi-automatic pistol in their apartment while their parents had friends over and left them unattended.

The accidental shooting happened in the family home on Sunday, March 12, at 8pm local time.

According to Mail Online, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the two girls were left unsupervised in a bedroom in the apartment as one parent thought the other was watching them.

There were also five adults – family members and friends – present in the apartment on Bammel North Houston Road, among which were the girls’ parents.

It is believed that the three-year-old found a loaded semi-automatic pistol and shot once, striking her four-year-old sister, the sheriff said.

The adults rushed into the bedroom after the single shot was fired to find the four-year-old unresponsive.

They secured the firearm and called the emergency services via 911. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff Gonzalez said, “It just seems like another tragic story of, again, a child gaining access to a firearm and hurting someone else and this time there was a fatal shot.”

“Our hearts are broken. Our deputies are pretty shaken up,” Gonzalez continued, noting that support personnel would be at the scene to assist the officers and family members.

“The community is impacted when a child loses their life in this way,” he said and added that the shooting was another avoidable gun death.

“We continue to send the message that this is very preventable.

“You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place. It’s got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons.

“You know, we’ve got to do a little more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether any of the adults will face charges based on the police investigation, which is still in the preliminary phase, according to Gonzalez.

Mail Online reports that advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety analysed data on shootings so far in 2023 and found that there had been at least 58 unintentional shootings by children in the US, which resulted in 22 deaths and 37 injuries.

The group added that in 2022, there were at least 353 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 156 deaths and 212 injuries.


Credit: CBS New

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Turkey Hit By Another 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake



A powerful earthquake has struck Turkey again amid the nation’s struggle to recover from previous disasters this month.

The 5.5 magnitude earthquake took a blow to central Turkey, just days after two further quakes hit the border near Syria.

At 10.27 am, the alarm of a 10km-deep quake was raised by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

It was said to have occurred 40km south of city Aksaray and 18km northeast of Emirgazi was hit by a 10km-deep quake.

India Today also reported that the disaster took place in the Niğde province which is almost 230 miles from Gaziantep – affected by the initial 7.8 quake on February 6.

Collapsed buildings and heaps of rubble were also photographed in the Golbasi district, worsening the toll taken to Turkey’s infrastructure.

Today’s disaster comes at a time when both Turkey and Syria had begun work to reconstruct homes for the millions that were displaced by the quakes.

More than 50,000 have been killed due to the continued destruction, but no casualties have been confirmed as a direct result of today’s incident.

Vice President Fuat Oktay has since tweeted that teams are ‘in the field’ assessing the damage caused but ‘there is no negative situation at the moment’.

He said: ‘Get well soon to all our citizens who were affected by the earthquake in the Bor district of Niğde.

‘Our teams are in the field, the damage assessment work continues. There is no negative situation at the moment. May Allah protect our country and our nation from all kinds of disasters.’

On Monday, a new 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Syria that were laid waste by a massive tremor that occurred two weeks prior.

Officials confirmed that three people died in Monday’s tremor after more buildings collapsed, trapping occupants, and several people were injured in both countries.

This came exactly two weeks after the catastrophic earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude that took place on February 6.

Nine thousand aftershocks are said to have taken place in Turkey since the deadly quake.

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Three Dead, Many Trapped As Another 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hit Turkey



A 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck southern Turkey, weeks after a deadly quake devastated the region leading to the death of more than 46,000 people.

According to a government source, a disaster and emergency agency, Afad said, the tremor struck the region around 20:00 local time.

The mayor of Hatay, in southern Turkey, has said people are trapped under rubble.

A 7.8-magnitude quake struck the same area on February 6, leading to 46,000 deaths.

Turkish authorities have recorded over 6,000 aftershocks since that earthquake hit the region and said today’s(Monday’s) tremor felt much more potent than previous ones.

For the region’s people, it has been a moment of back-to-back sorry, disaster and agony.

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