DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland's Department of Justice has acknowledged that it would arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes if he found himself in Ireland.
This follows last week's actions by the International Criminal Court in issuing an arrest warrant for Putin. The court charged the Russian leader with forcibly removing Ukrainian children to Russia.
Also charged was Russia's commissioner for children's rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
The charges, considered forced deportation of children, were labeled a war crime by the Rome Statute which established the ICC in 1998.
Officials said that Ireland, having signed the Rome Statute, is legally bound to abide by the decisions of the International Criminal Court, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.
"As with any case, if Ireland receives a request for the arrest and surrender of a person who is subject to an International Criminal Court arrest warrant, this request will be dealt with in accordance with the ICC Act 2006," a Department of Justice spokesman said, as quoted by The Irish Times.
At the same time, officials acknowledged that it is highly unlikely that Putin would travel to a country that recognizes the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
Internationally, the arrest warrant is seen for its symbolic value and was meant to send a message to Russian officials that they are vulnerable to prosecution.
This week, Ireland's Minister for Justice Simon Harris Harris attended a meeting of justice ministers in London, "in support of the International Criminal Court's efforts to secure accountability for Russian war crimes in Ukraine."
While in London, Harris announced that Ireland would contribute 1 million euros to support the International Criminal Court's Office of the Prosecutor, along with 2 million euros towards a trust fund to assist victims of war crimes. This funding now makes Ireland one of the leading financial supporters of the International Criminal Court among EU nations.
"Ireland has been steadfast in its condemnation of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified aggression as a grave violation of international law," Harris said in London. "We are committed to promoting accountability for violations of international law, including international crimes, arising out of Russia's invasion of Ukraine," as quoted by the Irish Times.