The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes because of his alleged involvement in abductions of children from Ukraine.
The court noted in a statement that 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.”
Also, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant on Friday, March 17, 2023 for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.
The court’s President, Piotr Hofmanski, disclosed in a video statement that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court has no police force of its own to enforce warrants.
“The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law. The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation.”Piotr Hofmanski
Despite the warrant on the Russian President and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the ICC has no powers to arrest suspects, and can only exercise jurisdiction within countries who are signed up to the agreement that set up the court.
Russia is not a signatory to that agreement so it is unlikely either will be extradited.
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 opening an investigation a year ago.
The ICC said that its pre-trial chamber found 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, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.”
Reasonable Grounds To Believe That Putin Is Responsible
The court statement noted 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 others (and) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.”
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, a U.N.-backed inquiry cited Russian attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, among potential issues that amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The sweeping investigation also found crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children who were prevented from reuniting with their families, a “filtration” system aimed at singling out Ukrainians for detention, and torture and inhumane detention conditions.
Experts say Russia under President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly ignored the rules established by the Geneva Conventions, a series of treaties that dictate how warring countries should treat each other’s citizens, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court and defined specific war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Last December, Beth Van Schaack, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice, stated, “These abuses are not the acts of rogue units.”
“Rather, they are part of a deeply disturbing pattern of abuse consistent with what we have seen from Russia’s prior military engagements; in Chechnya, Syria, and Georgia.”Beth Van Schaack
Van Schaack made this assertion at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
However on Friday, March 17, 2023, the ICC put the face of Vladimir Putin on the child abduction allegations.
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