International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The President of the Russian Federation is suspected of illegal deportation of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia, which, according to the investigation, has been taking place “at least since February 24, 2022.” The court said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin was personally responsible for this. A similar order was issued against Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights under the President of the Russian Federation. The authorities of the Russian Federation did not deny the movement of children from Ukrainian territories, in particular, explaining this by the need for “re-education”.
The Kremlin reminded that Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. “We consider the very formulation of the question outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and, accordingly, any decisions of this kind from the point of view of law for Russia are void, ”said Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the president. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev wrote about the warrant “no need to explain where this piece of paper is useful,” accompanying the toilet paper emoji post. Maria Lvova-Belova, commenting on her order, stated: “It’s great that the international community appreciated the work to help the children of our country.” Personally, Putin has not commented yet.
In Ukraine, they called the issuance of a warrant a “historic decision”. “World leaders will think three times before shaking his (Putin’s) hand or sitting down at the negotiating table with him. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and allies will be held accountable.” declared Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin. He noted that his office had submitted to the ICC more than 40 volumes of materials on the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, in turn, declaredthat the warrant for Putin’s arrest is “just the beginning.”
A few days ago, The New York Times wrote that the ICC would open two cases against Russia.. In addition to the case of the deportation of children, according to the sources of the publication, a case will be opened due to deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure. Officially, the second case has not yet been announced in court.
The jurisdiction of the ICC extends to crimes committed in the territories of countries that have ratified − while the accused may be a citizen of any country. Ukraine has not ratified the Rome Statute, but Kyiv separately recognized the court’s jurisdiction over possible crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed on the territory of the country since December 2013. In the case of Ukraine, the jurisdiction of the court is for crimes of aggression – that is, the leadership of the Russian Federation cannot be charged directly for the very fact of the invasion.
So far, the ICC has only issued an arrest warrant for an incumbent head of state.. It was the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir: in 2008 he was accused of genocide due to alleged ethnic cleansing during one of the conflicts in the south of the country. Despite the warrant, al-Bashir continued to travel overseas, including to countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. In 2019, 75-year-old al-Bashir was overthrown in a military plot, and two years later the new authorities announced they would extradite him to The Hague. So far this has not happened. The only head of state to appear directly before the ICC was Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivorian president. Charges were brought against him after he was removed from power in 2011, hearings began five years later. In 2019, Gbagbo was fully acquitted.