ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin
March 17, 2023, 11:57 am
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
In its first warrant issued related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ICC called for Putin’s arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
Neither Russia not Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kyiv has granted it jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.
Putin is the third serving president to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
The court also issued a warrant on Friday for Maria Lvova-Belova, who is Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges.
Ukraine has said more than 16,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia or Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
A report by Yale University researchers last month said Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children at sites in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014.
The report identified at least 43 camps and other facilities where Ukrainian children have been held that were part of a “large-scale systematic network” operated by Moscow since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia admits it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, but says it is a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in the conflict zone.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine a year ago. He highlighted during four trips to Ukraine that he was looking at alleged crimes against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
The ICC said in a statement Putin stands accused of the war crime of unlawful deportation from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
“The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” it said.