Russia-Ukraine war: ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant of arrest for the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes.

The warrant was issued on Friday, March 17, after the Court said it had reasonable grounds to believe that Putin was responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

“The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian-occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022,” the ICC said in a statement.

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An arrest warrant was also issued for the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for her complicity in the crime, based on the Prosecution’s applications of February 22.

“The Chamber considered that the warrants are secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation.

“Nevertheless, mindful that the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes, the Chamber considered that it is in the interests of justice to authorise the Registry to publicly disclose the existence of the warrants, the name of the suspects, the crimes for which the warrants are issued, and the modes of liability as established by the Chamber,” the Court explained.



    However, neither Russia not Ukraine are members of the ICC, although Kyiv granted the Court jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.

    The ICC has no police force of its own and relies on member states to make arrests. The bold legal move will, therefore, obligate the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.

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    Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during its one-year invasion of its neighbour and the Kremlin branded the Court decision as “null and void”.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia found the very questions raised by the ICC “outrageous and unacceptable”.

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