The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. The judges agreed with the prosecutor’s request, finding that there are real grounds to believe that Putin is responsible for war crimes involving the unlawful deportation of children from occupied Ukraine to Russia.

In the same decision, the ICC also issued an arrest warrant for the Russian ombudsman for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, accused of the same crimes.

Putin and Lviv-Belova are suspected of being responsible for “war crimes of unlawful deportation of people (children) and illegal transfer of people (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the ICC said in a statement. It was noted that these crimes have been committed since at least February 24, 2022 and constitute a violation of Article 8 of the Rome Statute, an international legal act establishing the ICC, which deals with war crimes.

There are grounds to believe that the Russian president and the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights bear individual criminal responsibility for these crimes, having committed them directly, jointly with or through other persons, the judges of the ICC justified the decision.

Putin is additionally suspected of improper supervision of his civilian and military subordinates who committed or allowed these crimes to be committed, it said. Since these people were under the de facto power and control of Putin, he is responsible as their superior, it added.

Arrest warrants remain secret to protect victims, witnesses and the investigation process itself, the ICC said in a statement. Nevertheless, in this case, given that the crimes involved are likely to continue to be committed, public awareness of the existence of these orders may contribute to preventing them in the future, the judges stressed. “Therefore, we have authorized the secretariat to make the warrants public, along with the names of the suspects, the crimes they are prosecuted for and the manner in which they are held accountable.”

“This is an important moment in the administration of justice by the ICC, the judges analyzed the information and evidence provided by the prosecutor’s office and ruled that there are credible accusations against these people,” Judge Piotr Hofmański, the president of the ICC, said in a video recording of this decision. – the ICC played its part by issuing the warrants; their implementation depends on international cooperation – he stressed.

The ICC, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, is an international court established to try individuals. It has the power to hear charges of war crimes, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Rome Statute has been adopted by more than 120 countries, including Russia, which, however, withdrew from it in 2016. Therefore, the Russian authorities do not extradite suspects who may, however, be extradited by other states that are parties to the statute. Ukraine is also not a party to the statute, but has declared that it recognizes the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory if the tribunal decides to investigate them.

The investigation into war crimes in Ukraine was initiated on March 3, 2022 at the request of several dozen countries, including Poland. The prosecutor’s office of the ICC sent a request to the judges for arrest warrants for Putin and Lviv-Belova on February 22 this year (PAP)


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