The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Federation Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Human Rights Maria Alekseievna Lvova-Belova on charges of war crimes for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian territory from areas captured during the Ukrainian war. The ICC has noted that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for these crimes, either for their direct commission or for his failure to exercise adequate control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.
Russia has not ratified the Rome Statute, so it is not a member of the ICC. Kiev has authorized the Court to investigate the commission of war crimes during the so-called Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine. In this regard, the arrest warrant comes a day after the UN concluded that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, including rape, torture, deportations of children, killings and attacks on civilians.
Russia denies any allegations of atrocities and attacks on civilian infrastructure. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said that possible arrest “prescriptions” coming out of the International Tribunal will be legally void, as Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute. Lvova-Belova welcomed the fact that the international community appreciates Russia’s efforts to keep children out of war zones and to create “good living conditions” for them.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General welcomed the order and recalled that the Ukrainian judiciary is investigating the forced deportation to Russia of more than 16,000 children from Moscow-occupied territories. He has said that the order obliges the countries that are parties to the court to arrest and hand over the Russian president to the ICC. “World leaders should think twice before shaking hands or sitting down with Putin.”
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