International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin alleging the Russian president has committed war crimes amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The court, based in the Dutch city The Hague, has focused on Putin’s culpability in the alleged kidnapping of Ukrainian children since the latest round of hostilities began last February.
Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the Friday warrant issued by the ICC claimed.
Although the ICC does not have the power to compel individuals to appear before the court, its president Piotr Hofmanski, stated that they would be relying on the help of the international community to bring Putin to justice.
“The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law,” Hofmanski said in a video address. “The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation.”
While the decision was applauded by Ukrainian officials, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the move.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” Zakharova told the Associated Press.
The number of children abducted or illegally deported to Russia varies widely.
According to Ukrainian sources, such as Children of War, more than 16,000 children have been illegally deported since the war first began with only 308 having been returned home.
However, Russian sources insist that number is wildly exaggerated. The country’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Marina Lvova-Belova, acknowledged the presence of 1,000 Ukrainian minors in Russia.
Lvova-Belova was also named in the ICC’s arrest warrant, which argued that there are “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, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.”
On Thursday, a United Nations-sponsored investigation found that Russia had tortured Ukrainians in occupied territories which might constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.