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ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin & Lvova-Belova Over War Crimes; Poland Sending MiG-29s to Ukraine

On February 13, 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in the office of the Russian president, on charges of war crimes. The two are accused of responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.[0]

The ICC’s pre-trial judges said 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”.[1] The court found reasonable grounds that 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,” the statement added.[2]

123 countries are signatories of the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court, however, Russia is not one of them. In addition, it is improbable that Putin will visit a nation that has accepted the Statute in the foreseeable future.[3] Should he travel abroad, there is no assurance that he would be apprehended, as the countries he visits would have to be prepared to take him into custody.[4]

The ICC does not possess its own law enforcement personnel or methods of enforcing arrests.[0] Should Putin or Lvova-Belova travel to any of the ICC member states, the warrant would require their arrest.

Next week, President Xi Jinping of China will be in Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.[5] China has maintained that it is neutral in the Ukraine war, but it has offered diplomatic support for Russia and accused Washington of turning the conflict into a “proxy” war.[6]

The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territory of a state party or a state which has accepted its jurisdiction.[7] In 2014 and 2015, Ukraine ratified the ICC twice.[7]

Ukraine is due to receive four MiG-29 planes from Poland.[8] On Thursday, Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, announced that four of the Soviet-era aircrafts will be given in the next few days and that the remainder are “the rest are being prepared, serviced”.[9]

0. “ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin” Voice of America – VOA News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/icc-issues-arrest-warrant-for-putin-over-ukraine-war-crimes-/7010144.html

1. “Vladimir Putin: Wanted by ICC for Crimes Against Children” Center for European Policy Analysis, 17 Mar. 2023, https://cepa.org/article/wanted-for-crimes-against-children-vladimir-putin/

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

3. “Vladimir Putin Is Officially A Wanted Man” BuzzFeed News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/icc-vladimir-putin-arrest-warrant-war-crimes

4. “Will Vladimir Putin Actually Be Arrested for ICC Warrant?” TIME, 17 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6264280/vladimir-putin-icc-warrant-arrest/

5. “War in Ukraine Latest News and Headlines for March 17, 2023” Bloomberg, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-17/ukraine-latest-german-leader-wants-security-guarantees-for-kyiv

6. “Russia-Ukraine war news: Finland and Turkey discuss NATO bid” The Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/17/russia-ukraine-war-news/

7. “ICC issues Putin arrest warrant on Ukraine war crime allegations” Al Jazeera English, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/17/icc-issues-arrest-warrant-for-russias-putin-over-ukraine-crimes

8. “Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 387 of the invasion” The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/17/russia-ukraine-war-at-a-glance-what-we-know-on-day-387-of-the-invasion

9. “Russia's war in Ukraine: live updates” CNN, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/europe/live-news/russia-ukraine-war-news-03-18-23/index.html

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