Historical Initiative, Judge Kyiv. The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Friday it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of “illegally deporting” Ukrainian children since the start of the Russian invasion.
The ICC, based in The Hague, also 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 ICC and experts say it is unlikely to extradite the suspects. The court did not specify how it secured the execution of the arrest warrant.
“Today, March 17, 2023, the II Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrest of two persons in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova,” said the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Affairs in Russia, the ICC said in a statement.
Moscow denounces ‘minor’ approach
Vladimir Putin is “presumed guilty of the war crime of illegal deportation of the population (children) and illegal transfer of the population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the court added.
“Crimes have allegedly been committed in the occupied territory of Ukraine since at least February 24, 2022,” the ICC continued, adding that there are “reasonable grounds for believing that Mr. Putin is personally responsible for the aforementioned crimes.”
After this statement, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office welcomed the initiative of the ICC, considering it “historic”. “This is just the beginning,” the Ukrainian president also responded. For its part, Russian diplomacy condemned “meaningless” and “insignificant” decisions.
Child Abduction Investigation
On Monday, The New York Times reported that the ICC is preparing to prosecute Russians for transferring children to Russia and for deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said earlier this month after a visit to Ukraine that alleged child abductions are “under investigation as a matter of priority.” “Children should not be treated like spoils of war,” he said.
Karim Khan noted that he visited a kindergarten in southern Ukraine, which “was empty after the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation” or other occupied territories.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kyiv has recognized the court’s jurisdiction over its territory and is working with the prosecutor’s office. Created in 2002 to deal with the world’s worst crimes, the ICC has been investigating possible war crimes or crimes against humanity committed during the Russian offensive for more than a year.
Source: Le Parisien
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