ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over child deportations from Ukraine – Reuters
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the forcible transfer of children to Russia after the Kremlin invaded Ukraine.
Ukrainians accuse Russia of attempting genocide against them and seeking to destroy their identity, in part by deporting children to Russia.
Putin is “allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (of children)” and that of “illegal transfer of population (of children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”, said Friday the Hague-based court in a statement. .
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for these crimes, the statement said.
The Russian president, the court argued, failed to “exercise appropriate control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts” and who were “under his effective authority and control.”
Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian commissioner for children’s rights in the president’s office, was also struck by the ICC warrant for her role in the deportations.
This is the first time the ICC has issued warrants in relation to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began last February. This comes ahead of a visit to Russia next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping and will significantly limit Putin’s potential range of diplomatic visits.
Moscow has previously said it does not recognize the court’s authority.
In response, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said: “The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. No need to explain WHERE this paper should be used…” concluding with a toilet paper emoji.
Despite numerous reports that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine – including a recent UN investigation that declared Russia’s forcible deportation of Ukrainian children a war crime – the Kremlin denied committing any crimes.
In a statement, Balkees Jarrah, deputy director of international justice at Human Rights Watch, welcomed the announcement, saying the warrant sends “a clear message that ordering the commission or condoning of serious crimes against civilians can lead to a prison cell”.
This article has been updated.