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The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights. 

Putin and Lvova-Belova are suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine at least from February 24, 2022. “(…) there are 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 ICC statement says.

Photo: ICC website

The court decided to publicly disclose the warrants issued for Putin and Lvova-Belova as “the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes”.

“Wheels of Justice are turning: I applaud the ICC decision to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova over the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children. International criminals will be held accountable for stealing children and other international crimes,” commented Dmytro Kuleba, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine.

As of March 2023, more than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of children have been recorded in Ukraine. The actual numbers might be even higher, reports Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

The Coordination Council of Ukraine for the Protection and Safety of Children has been created to stop the forced transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia, as well as to return them and reunite families in accordance with the interests of the child and international law. 308 children have already been returned, and the process is ongoing.

Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, has already stated that the decisions of the ICC “have no significance for Russia, in particular from a legal point of view”.

Learn more about Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine