Ukraine: ICC issues arrest warrant against Putin for war crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Friday that it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children since the start of the Russian invasion.

The ICC, which sits in The Hague, has 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 handing over the suspects is unlikely. The court did not specify how it made provision for the execution of the arrest warrant.

“Today, 17 March 2023, the 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”, Presidential Commissioner for Children rights in Russia, the ICC said in a statement.

Mariupol, Ukraine, November 29, 2022 (AFP – Stringer)

“Mr Putin is held responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine,” the court said.

The ICC further stated, “The crimes were allegedly committed in occupied Ukrainian territory at least since February 24, 2022.”

Mr Putin is directly responsible for allegedly committing the acts and, according to the statement, for “failure to exercise proper control over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed them to be committed”. Are.

– “Spoils of War” –

On Monday, the New York Times reported that the ICC was preparing to prosecute the Russians for the transfer of children to Russia and the deliberate attack on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said after a visit to Ukraine earlier this month that the alleged abduction of the children was “being investigated with priority”.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan (D) received by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on February 28, 2023 (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service / AFP - Handout)
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan (D) received by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on February 28, 2023 (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service / AFP – Handout)

“Children cannot be treated as spoils of war,” he said.

Mr Khan explained 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 territories.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kiev has accepted the court’s jurisdiction over its territory and is working with a prosecutor.

The ICC, created in 2002 to judge the world’s worst crimes, has been probing for more than a year possible war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during the Russian invasion.

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