The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President, Vladimir Putin over the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
ICC made this known in a press statement on Friday.
ICC stated that the warrant became necessary following the applications submitted by the prosecution on February 22, 2023.
It said Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukrainian territory from February 24, 2022.
The court said in a statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.
Both Putin and Lvova-Belova were slammed with allegations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children into Russian territory, thereby violating articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.
The statement reads: “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute), and (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).
“Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, born on 25 October 1984, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.”
The ICC decided to keep the warrant documents a 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.”
Recall that the Russian-Ukraine war began on February 24, 2022 after the Russian army invaded the neighbouring country.
The war, which has raged for over a year has led to the loss of life, destruction of properties and further escalation of tensions between Russia and Western nations.