ICC issues war crimes warrant for Putin

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The Hague (London Post in collaboration with Reuters) The International Criminal Court announced  that it had issued a war crimes arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.

In a statement, the court said Putin was “held responsible for the war crimes of illegal deportation (of children) and illegal transfer of (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. 

She also issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Maria Alekseevna Lvova Belova, a child rights commissioner at the President’s Office of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.

The move was quickly dismissed by Moscow and hailed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough. However, their practical impact may be negligible.

The court has indicted world leaders before, but it was the first time it issued an arrest warrant for one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Court President Piotr Hofmansky said in a video statement that the ICC judge had issued the warrant, but that it was up to the international community to enforce it. no police force.

The prospect of a Russian trial in the International Criminal Court remains highly unlikely as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that Russia did not recognize her ICC and considered the decision “legally invalid”. He added that Russia views the court’s decision as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Peskov declined to comment when asked if he would avoid traveling to countries where Putin could be arrested on his ICC warrant.

Ukrainian officials cheered

Olga Lopatkina, a Ukrainian mother who struggled for months to reclaim her foster children who were deported to an institution ran by Russian loyalists, welcomed the news of the arrest warrant. “Good news!” she said in an exchange of messages with the Associated Press. “Everyone must be punished for their crimes.”

Ukraine also is not a member of the international court, but it has granted it jurisdiction over its territory and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has visited four times since opening an investigation a year ago.

The ICC said its pre-trial chamber found “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.”

The court statement said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. 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.

After his most recent visit, in early March, ICC prosecutor Khan said he visited a care home for children two kilometers (just over a mile) from front lines in southern Ukraine. Russia dismissed the court’s claims and arrest warrants as invalid, but others said the ICC’s case would have important implications.

On Thursday, a US-backed investigation named Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians, including systematic torture and killings in occupied territories, as problems that could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. .

A comprehensive investigation found that deported Ukrainian children were prevented from reuniting with their families, a “filtration system” intended to screen Ukrainians for detention, torture and inhumane treatment. Crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory were also revealed, including severe prison conditions.

But on Friday, the ICC put the face of Putin on the child abduction allegations..