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ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin on War Crimes Charges

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. The court also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in Putin’s presidential office, on two similar charges relating to the same time period.[0]

Russia, not being a participant in the court, declared the action to be pointless.[1] Since its full-scale invasion of a neighboring country in February 2019, Moscow has continually denied allegations of atrocities committed by its forces.[2]

The ICC, which has no powers to enforce its own warrants, obliges member states to arrest Putin or Lvova-Belova if they were to travel to their country.[1] However, as Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, Putin is not expected to be apprehended or extradited to The Hague.[3]

Russia has been charged by Ukraine with genocide and declared its actions a war crime.[4] It was reported in the Spring of last year that children from Ukraine living in occupied territories were being taken to Russia and adopted by Russian families. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of forcibly deporting or transferring Ukrainian children from areas of Ukraine that are under Russian control.

Russia has confessed to having in its custody a minimum of 1,400 Ukrainian children who it labels as being orphans, though it had reported that a total of 2,000 of these children had traveled to Russia without adult supervision.[5] Hundreds of children from the occupied territories are still in Russia after attending “re-education” camps with the approval of their parents, yet they were not brought back.[4]

The arrest warrant issued by the ICC accused Putin of a war crime for the deportation of hundreds of children from Ukraine. The Kremlin has stated that they do not recognize the court's jurisdiction, thus rendering the allegations “null and void.” though Putin himself has not commented on the charges.[6]

The indictment of Putin for war crimes has placed him on a short list alongside some of the most brutal leaders the world has seen since the end of World War II.[7] The branding of Putin as an international pariah will remain, unless he faces the court and then somehow manages to clear his name—an outcome that is doubly unlikely.

On Sunday, Putin visited the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, following a trip over the weekend to Crimea that marked the nine-year anniversary of Moscow’s illegal annexation of the peninsula.[6]

0. “‘Not Enough': Ukrainians React To ICC Arrest Warrant, War Crimes Charges Against Putin For Illegal Deportations Of Ukrainian Children” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.rferl.org/a/ukrainians-react-icc-arrest-warrant-putin/32324276.html

1. “All you need to know about the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin” Al Jazeera English, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/17/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-iccs-arrest-warrant-for-putin

2. “Will Vladimir Putin ever face a war crimes trial?” BBC, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-64994992

3. “Lithuania sends a clear message to Putin following ICC arrest warrant” TVP World, 18 Mar. 2023, https://tvpworld.com/68577053/lithuania-sends-a-clear-message-to-putin-following-icc-arrest-warrant

4. “Putin’s alleged war crimes: who are the Ukrainian children being taken by Russia?” The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/17/vladimir-putin-war-crimes-icc-arrest-warrant-ukraine-children

5. “Ukrainian Intelligence on ICC decision says that Kremlin already looking for successor to Putin” Yahoo Life, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/hur-icc-decision-kremlin-already-114350621.html

6. “Putin visits occupied city of Mariupol” The Hill, 19 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/international/3907242-putin-visits-occupied-city-of-mariupol

7. “Opinion: ICC arrest warrant for Putin is a stunning statement” CNN, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/18/opinions/putin-arrest-warrant-icc-russia-ghitis/index.html

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