International Criminal Court issues war crimes warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin
The International Criminal Court on Friday (March 17th) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes for his alleged involvement in child abductions in Ukraine.
In an unprecedented move, the court said in a statement that Putin “would be responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of (children) and illegal transfer of (children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation of Russia”.
He also issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in the office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.
Although the court has indicted world leaders before, it was the first time it issued a warrant against one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
This decision was immediately rejected by Moscow but welcomed by Ukraine.
Court president Piotr Hofmanski said in a video statement that while ICC judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court does not have its own police force to execute warrants.
“The ICC is doing its part as a court of law,” he said. “The judges have issued arrest warrants. Execution depends on international cooperation.
The chances of a trial of Russians at the ICC are unlikely, however, as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia does not recognize the ICC and considers its decisions “legally void”. He added that Russia viewed the court’s decision as “outrageous and unacceptable”.
Peskov declined to comment when asked if Putin would avoid traveling to countries where he could be arrested on an ICC warrant.
Olga Lopatkina, a Ukrainian mother who struggled for months to get her adopted children back who were deported to an institution run by Russian loyalists, welcomed news of the arrest warrant. “Good news!” she told AP. “Everyone must be punished for their crimes.”
“The world has changed,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “the wheels of justice are turning” and added that “international criminals will be held accountable for the theft of children and other international crimes”.
The ICC said its pre-trial chamber had found “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of people and that of illegal transfer of people from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. , to the detriment of Ukrainian children”. .”
The court statement said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the child abductions “for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through the intermediary of others (and) for his inability to properly exercise control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.
After his last visit in early March, ICC prosecutor Khan said he visited a children’s nursing home two kilometers (just over a mile) from the front lines in southern Ukraine.
“The drawings pinned to the wall…spoke of a context of love and support that was once there. But this house was empty, due to the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation or their illegal transfer to other parts of the temporarily occupied territories,” he said in a statement. “As I indicated to the United Nations Security Council last September, these alleged acts are the subject of priority investigations by my Office. Children cannot be treated as spoils of war.