The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for the President of Russia Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
ICC said in a statement on Friday that Putin is allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of children and illegal transfer of children from occupied territories in Ukraine to Russia since February 24, 2022 – the day Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of the neighboring country.
The ICC referred to the charges under the articles of the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others and for his failure to properly exercise control over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or permitted them to be carried out, and which were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility,” the court said.
It also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights at the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on the same charges.
Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations that its forces committed atrocities during its year-long invasion of its neighbor. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to the allegations.
A potential trial of all Russians at the ICC is a long way off, especially as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and will not extradite its citizens. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that position earlier this week.
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 it launched an investigation a year ago.
The ICC said its pre-trial chamber found there were “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of population and illegal transfer of population from occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, to the prejudice of Ukrainian children.”
‘I put my sons’ remains in a bag’: Investigators find shocking evidence of war crimes in Ukraine
On Thursday, a UN-backed inquiry cited Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killings in occupied regions, among potential issues amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The wide-ranging investigation also found crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children being prevented from reuniting with their families, a “filtering system” aimed at singling out Ukrainians for detention, and torture and inhumane detention conditions.
— with files from The Associated Press
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