The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued this Friday an arrest warrant against the president of Russia, Vladimir Putinunder the presumption of war crime for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from areas captured during the Ukrainian war to Russian territory.
From the Russian Government it is affirmed that this arrest warrant for Putin is “null” and that it lacks “sense”.
The CFI has also issued an arrest warrant for the same reason against the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights of the Russian Federation, Maria Alexeievna Lvova-Belovaas the court has made known in a statement.
The court understands “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin “has individual criminal responsibility” for these crimes, either for their “direct” commission or for having been unable to “exercise adequate control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.”
The first reaction from Ukraine comes from the entourage of President Zelensky, warning his Russian counterpart that this is just the beginning”.
The Kremlin denies it.
The Kremlin has consistently denied that he is forcibly deporting Ukrainian children against the accusations made by kyiv and its allies. According to the Ukrainian government at least 16,000 children have ended up displaced against their will to Russian territory since the beginning of the conflict while a recent study presented in February by Yale University denounced at least 6,000 Ukrainian children spread across 40 Russian boarding schools.
This Friday’s arrest warrants represent the first international charges filed since the start of the conflict and come after months of work by a special investigative team under the orders of the CFI’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan. For its issuance it has been necessary for a preliminary panel of judges to accept the validity of the evidence presented.
The possibility that the ICC ends up trying Putin it is practically impossible for various reasons: the court cannot hear cases ‘in absentia’ of the defendant; Russia withdrew in 2016 from the Rome Statute that serves as the legal foundation for the court, and the Kremlin has no the slightest intention to hand over any Russian officer to the courtas it has already reiterated on numerous occasions.
However, the CFI is qualified, at least, to charge Putin, since it does not recognize immunity for heads of state in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.
As a particular note, the CFI has made an exceptional case when identifying Putin and Lvova-Belova by nameagainst the usual doctrine that favors anonymity, by indicating that “public knowledge of the orders can contribute to the prevention of the commission of new crimes”, particularly that of forced child deportation, “which still continues”.
China proposes a ceasefire
On the other hand, the United States opposes China’s proposal for a ceasefire in Ukraine because it believes that it would consolidate the “Russian conquest” and give the Kremlin the possibility of preparing a new offensive, according to a White House spokesman. .
“We do not support proposals for a ceasefire at this time,” he told reporters. John Kirbyspokesman for the National Security Council, before the Chinese leader Xi Jinping visit Moscow next week.
“It would simply benefit Russia,” Kirby said, noting that the People’s Republic of China would ask for it during a meeting in Moscow.
The United States, leading a Western coalition to arm Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last year, fears a ceasefire will ease pressure on Russian forces and give the Kremlin a chance to consolidate its control over swaths of territory.
“A ceasefire is now (…) effectively the ratification of the Russian conquest” and would leave Moscow a free hand “to further entrench its positions in Ukraine, to rebuild, re-equip and upgrade its forces so that they can resume attacks against Ukraine when they choose,” Kirby explained.