The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued this Friday an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged responsibility for war crimes in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. The institution has also issued an order against Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation for the Rights of the Child, with similar charges.
Specifically, the accusations against the Russian leader concern the deportation of children and the forcible displacement of people, including children, from areas of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation.
The International Criminal Court has indicated that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin has individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, in addition to failing to exercise adequate control over his civilian and military subordinates who committed such acts or allowed them to were committed. Which means violating article 28 of superior responsibility of the Rome Statute.
The International Criminal Court has argued that “each suspect is responsible for war crimes for illegal deportation of population and for the illegal transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, to the detriment of Ukrainian children.”
In this sense, the president of the International Criminal Court, Piotr Hofmanski, has indicated that this is “an important moment” in the history of legal proceedings before the court and has argued that there are “allegations deserving of credibility” against both. In a further step, he recalled that “International law prohibits any occupying power from transferring civilians from the territory in which they live to other places.”
Despite the fact that the orders are secret to protect victims and witnesses, in this case the institution has considered making them public in the “interest of justice” to “prevent crimes from continuing to be committed.”
However, Russia has come out of the news to describe the arrest warrant against the Kremlin leader as “legally void”. It has been in her Telegram account that Maria Zajárov, Russian Foreign Affairs spokesperson, has stressed that “possible arrest warrants that come out of the International Court will be legally null for us.”
For its part, Ukraine has celebrated the arrest warrant. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has publicly stated that he “applauds” the decision of the International Criminal Court. All this in a framework in which the Ukrainian authorities investigate the forced deportation of more than 16,000 Ukrainian children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.