Thursday, 23 March 2023

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International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin arrest warrant seen in press release from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. On 17 March 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. 

Jonathan Raa | Nurphoto | Getty Images

WASHINGTON The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes committed during his invasion of Ukraine.

The court also put out a warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.

Putin and Lvova-Belova are “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation” of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia, the court wrote in a statement.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, the ICC said. The court alleged that he committed the offenses either directly or in cooperation with others, or failed to stop subordinates under his authority.

The warrants are the first the ICC has issued in response to the war in Ukraine, as officials within the country and around the world ramp up probes into the horrors of Russia’s nearly 13-month assault. Investigators have uncovered allegations of forced deportations, torture, sexual violence and deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure, outlined in reports backed by the United Nations and other organizations.

The arrest warrant for Putin did not mention alleged crimes beyond the deportations.

Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia February 16, 2023. 

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

The ICC’s prosecutor, Karim Khan, opened an investigation into possible Russian war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion in February of last year. Khan, who has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy several times, has made at least three separate trips to visit sites across Ukraine to investigate alleged war crimes.

“Incidents identified by my office include the deportation of at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children’s care homes,” Khan wrote in a statement.

“Many of these children, we allege, have since been given for adoption in the Russian Federation. The law was changed in the Russian Federation, through Presidential decrees issued by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian…

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