The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued a warrant of arrest for Russian President, Vladimir Putin for war crimes.
The court, which issued the warrant of arrest on Friday, said Putin is involved in the abductions of children from Ukraine.
Why ICC Issued Arrest Warrant For Russian President, Vladimir Putin
The court said in a statement that Vladimir 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.”
Similarly, the court also issued a warrant for the arrest of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
President of the court, Piotr Hofmanski, in a video statement, said that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court has no police force of its own to enforce warrants.
“The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law,” he said. “The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation.”
However, it remains a long way off for a possible trail of any Russians.
This is because Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
This position was reaffirmed on Friday by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova in a first reaction to the warrants.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” she said.
Reports say Ukrainian officials, were, however, jubilant.
“The world changed,” said presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the “wheels of Justice are turning,” and added that “international criminals will be held accountable for stealing children and other international crimes.”
Like Russia, Ukraine also is not a member of the court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has visited four times since opening an investigation a year ago.
The ICC said its pre-trial chamber found “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.”
The court statement said that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the child abductions “for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (and) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.
According to ICC Prosecutor, Khan, he visited a care home for children two kilometers (just over a mile) from the frontlines in southern Ukraine.
Khan said in a statement, “The drawings pinned on the wall … spoke to a context of love and support that was once there. But this home was empty, a result of the alleged deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation or their unlawful transfer to other parts of the temporarily occupied territories.
“As I noted to the United Nations Security Council last September, these alleged acts are being investigated by my Office as a priority. Children cannot be treated as the spoils of war.”
And while Russia rejected the allegations and warrants of the court as null and void, others said the ICC action will have an important impact.
Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said, “The ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step to ending the impunity that has emboldened perpetrators in Russia’s war against Ukraine for far too long. The warrants send a clear message that giving orders to commit, or tolerating, serious crimes against civilians may lead to a prison cell in The Hague.”