ICC issues arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes for the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
Moscow, which has repeatedly denied allegations of atrocities committed by its troops since launching its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, ruled that the arrest warrant issued for Vladimir Putin was “invalid and void”. Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kiev recognizes the court’s jurisdiction and allows it to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.
The ICC, which has 123 member states, does not have its own police and relies on the cooperation of states to arrest and surrender suspects.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Russia’s view the issues raised by the ICC were “outrageous and unacceptable”.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by saying that the ICC decision had “no meaning” for Russia, recalling that the country is not a signatory to the treaty that established the court.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for alleged child abduction and illegal population transfer from Ukraine to Russia.
“The crimes were allegedly committed on occupied Ukrainian territory at least since February 24, 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears personal criminal responsibility for the above crimes,” the ICC said in a statement.
Separately, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Russian Commissioner for the Rights of the Child, on the same grounds.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the ICC would soon issue its first arrest warrants against several Russian nationals.
A year ago, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine. During his three visits to the war-torn country, he insisted he was investigating alleged crimes against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
Last month, researchers at Yale University released a report that Russia detained at least 6,000 Ukrainian children at sites in Russian-held Crimea.
The United Nations Convention defines the “forcible transfer of children from one group to another” as one of five acts that can be prosecuted as genocide.
Andriy Yermaka, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, said it was “just a beginning”, while Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin welcomed the “landmark decision” for Ukraine and the entire international legal system.
The announcement of the ICC arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin comes as Moscow and Beijing earlier today announced a visit to Russia next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(Bart Meijer reporting, with contributions by Kevin Liffey and Olena Harmsch in Kiev, French edition Jean-Stéphane Brosse, Blandine Heinault and Camille Renaud)