The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges, accusing him of involvement in child abductions in Ukraine. Moscow, however, has denied accusations that its forces committed atrocities during its year-long invasion of its neighbor.
“He would be responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (of children) and illegal transfer of population (of children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the court said in a statement.
The court also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, for similar allegations.
Piotr Hofmanski, president of the court, in a video statement said that the ICC issued the arrest warrant against Putin on suspicion of illegal deportation of children and illegal transfer of people from Ukrainian territory to the Russian Federation. Although ICC judges issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court does not have its own police force to execute warrants.
“The ICC is doing its part as a court of justice. The judges have issued arrest warrants. Execution depends on international cooperation,” he said.
A possible trial of Russians at the ICC is still a long way off, as Moscow recognizes the court’s jurisdiction – a position reaffirmed earlier this week by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov – and does not extradite its nationals.
Ukraine is also not a member of the court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has visited four times since an investigation was opened. one year ago.
The ICC said its pre-trial chamber concluded that there were “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine. to the Russian Federation, to the detriment of Ukrainian children.
The court statement said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the child abductions “for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through the ‘intermediary of others (and) for his inability to properly exercise control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts’.
On Thursday, a UN-backed investigation cited Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killings in occupied areas, among potential issues that constitute war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The in-depth investigation also revealed crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children who were prevented from reuniting with their families, a “filtration” system aimed at isolating Ukrainians for detention, as well as torture and inhuman conditions of detention.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the court was due to issue warrants, the first in its investigation into the Ukraine conflict.
With agency contributions.