ICC issues a warrant for Putin’s arrest, citing war crimes in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. On Friday, March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. On Friday, March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest. | Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press
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On Friday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating that he is responsible for war crimes in Ukraine and the deportation of children.

The news: Putin is “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the court said in a statement.

  • The ICC stated that these crimes were committed from at least February 2022, when Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russia has denied the allegations of war crimes and states that the arrest warrants are “meaningless,” BBC reported.

  • “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” said Maria Zakharova, a press director from Russia’s Foreign Affairs, per BBC.

Details: A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the Russian president, for similar crimes, Al Jazeera reported.

  • Piotr Hofmanski, president of the ICC, said that enforcement of the warrants is ultimately up to the international community, given that the ICC itself has no police to carry out the arrests, according to The Associated Press.

The bigger picture: The court said that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin and Lvova-Belova carried out these crimes, stating that they each bear “individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others.”

  • These warrants follow an investigation by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, who began looking into potential war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes against children when Russia began its invasion a year ago, per Reuters.