International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Russian President Putin Over Ukraine Situation
Judges at the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.
The Hague-based ICC said it had 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 International Criminal Court. It was not clear how the ICC planned to implement the memorandum.
“Today, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC issued arrest warrants for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseevna Lvova Belova,” the ICC said in a statement.
Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
The ICC said the crimes dated back to February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” it said.
Allegedly, Putin was directly responsible for the commission of these acts and for “failing to exercise proper control over his civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts or allowed them to be committed”.
It added that arrest warrants were kept secret to protect victims and witnesses.
The International Criminal Court is the court of last resort for crimes that states cannot or will not prosecute for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine just days after the Russian invasion.
‘spoils of war’
Khan said earlier this month after a visit to Ukraine that the alleged child abductions “are being investigated by my office as a matter of priority”.
“Children cannot be treated as spoils of war,” he said in a statement on March 7.
Khan, who posted a photo of himself next to empty beds, said he had visited a children’s home in southern Ukraine that was “empty, as a result of alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation” or other occupied territories.
Khan also confirmed that the International Criminal Court is investigating attacks on “critical civilian infrastructure” in Ukraine and that he has visited the sites of several such strikes.
He added that, together with Ukraine’s attorney general, “we have confirmed our collective commitment to ensuring that such actions are fully investigated and those responsible for alleged international crimes are held accountable.”
The ICC prosecutor added in the statement that he had “a sense that the momentum towards justice is accelerating”.
Khan has previously described Ukraine as a “crime scene”, and also visited the town of Bucha, where AFP journalists saw at least 20 dead bodies lying in a street.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kiev has accepted the court’s jurisdiction and is working with Khan’s office.
Russia denies allegations that its forces committed war crimes. Experts said it was unlikely that any suspects would be extradited.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General praises the “historic” arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Putin
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court.
“The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and that its leadership and followers will be held accountable,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said in a statement on social media. “This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law.”
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