ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin Over War Crime of Deporting Ukrainian Children

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.[0]

The warrant was issued on Friday (March 17) and is the first time the court has ever issued a warrant against the leader of one of the five permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council.[1] It is unlikely that anything will happen as a result of this warrant, as the ICC has no jurisdiction in Russia, and the country is not a member of the international court.[2]

The International Criminal Court has accused President Putin of violating two articles of the Rome Statute, which set up the court, with regards to Russia's treatment of Ukrainian children: the unlawful deportation of civilians and the illegal relocation of them from occupied Ukraine to Russia. The International Criminal Court has charged President Putin with the violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention by forcibly transferring children from regions of Ukraine that are under his control back to Russia. This act is considered a war crime. A warrant was additionally released by the court for the apprehension of Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children's rights in Putin's presidential office, on two analogous charges in connection to the same time frame.[3]

At least 6,000 children from Ukraine, from the territories that are under occupation, attended summer camps funded by the Russian state, and a few hundred of them have not been reunited with their families yet.[4] Russia has portrayed its operations as a humanitarian endeavor to rescue Ukrainian kids from conflict.[5] Ukraine has alleged that Russia has committed genocide and labeled its actions as a war crime.[5]

The court found reasonable grounds that Putin bears responsibility 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, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility”.[6]

The ICC has accused Putin of being directly involved in the crime of sending at least 6,000 children from Ukraine to reeducation camps and facilities in Russia, where many have been adopted by Russian families.

The pre-trial judges of the court declared there was “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”.[7]

Russia, not being a party to the court, stated that the action was pointless.[8]

0. “ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin, March Madness gets crazy: 5 Things Podcast” USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2023/03/18/icc-issues-arrest-warrant-putin-march-madness-gets-crazy-5-things-podcast/11498320002/

1. “Ukrainian Granite Staters react after ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin” WMUR Manchester, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.wmur.com/article/ukrainian-granite-staters-react-after-icc-issues-arrest-warrant-for-putin/43354034

2. “International war crime authorities want to arrest Putin” Quartz, 17 Mar. 2023, https://qz.com/icc-putin-ukraine-russia-hague-war-crime-1850238534

3. “‘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

4. “Prosecuting Putin for abducting Ukrainian children will require a high bar of evidence – and won't guarantee the children can come back home” The Conversation Indonesia, 16 Mar. 2023, https://theconversation.com/prosecuting-putin-for-abducting-ukrainian-children-will-require-a-high-bar-of-evidence-and-wont-guarantee-the-children-can-come-back-home-201833

5. “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

6. “Russia: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Putin” UN News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134732

7. “Russia: ICC's arrest warrant against Putin is a step towards justice” Amnesty International, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/03/russia-iccs-arrest-warrant-against-putin-step-towards-justice

8. “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

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