War in Ukraine: the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin
Sylvie Claire / March 18, 2023
The International Criminal Court (ICC) said Friday it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of "illegally deporting" Ukrainian children since the start of the Russian invasion.
The ICC, based in The Hague, also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's presidential commissioner for children's rights, on similar charges.
Russia is not a member of the ICC and experts say it is unlikely to surrender suspects. The court did not specify how it planned to execute the arrest warrants.
Today, March 17, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two individuals in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova," the presidential commissioner for children's rights in Russia, the ICC said in a statement.
Mr. Putin "is allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation," the court added.
"The crimes are alleged to have been committed in the occupied territory of Ukraine at least from 24 February 2022," the ICC continued, adding that there were "reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin is personally responsible for the above crimes. »
Mr. Putin is presumed responsible both directly for committing the acts and for "failure to exercise appropriate control over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed them to be committed," the statement said.
On Monday, the New York Times had reported that the ICC was preparing to prosecute Russians for the transfer of children to Russia and for deliberate strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said earlier this month after a visit to Ukraine that the alleged abductions of children were "a priority investigation." "Children cannot be treated as spoils of war," he said.
Khan noted that he had visited a child care center in southern Ukraine that was "empty, following the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation" or other occupied areas.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC, but Kiev has accepted the court's jurisdiction over its territory and is working with the prosecutor.
The ICC, established in 2002 to try the world's worst crimes, has been investigating possible war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during the Russian offensive for over a year.