International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The President of the Russian Federation is suspected of illegal deportation of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia, which, according to the investigation, takes place “at least since February 24, 2022”. The court said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe Putin was personally responsible for it. A similar order was issued against Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights to the President of the Russian Federation. The authorities of the Russian Federation did not deny the movement of children from Ukrainian territories, explaining it by the need for “re-education”.
The Kremlin reminded that Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. “We consider the very wording of the question to be outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and therefore any such decision from the point of view of law for Russia is void,” said Dmitry Peskov, press officer Of the president. Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev writing about the warrant “no need to explain where this piece of paper is useful”, accompanying the emoji message on the toilet paper. Maria Lvova-Belova, commenting on her order, declared“It’s great that the international community has appreciated the work to help the children of our country.” Personally, Putin has not yet commented.
In Ukraine, they called the issuance of a warrant a “historic decision”. “World leaders will think three times before shaking it [Путину] hand or sit with him at the negotiating table. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and that its leaders and allies will be held accountable. » declared Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin. He noted that his office had submitted to the ICC more than 40 volumes of documents on the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. Chief of Staff of Ukrainian President Andriy Yermak, in turn, declaredthat the arrest warrant for Putin is “just the start”.
A few days ago, the New York Times writingthat the ICC will open two trials against Russia. In addition to the file of the deportation of children, according to the publication’s sources, a file will be opened due to deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure. Officially, the second case has not yet been announced to the court.
The jurisdiction of the ICC extends to crimes committed on the territory of countries that have ratified − while the accused can be a citizen of any country. Ukraine has not ratified the Rome Statute, but Kyiv has separately recognized the Court’s jurisdiction over possible crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed on the country’s territory since December 2023. In the case of Ukraine, the jurisdiction of the court is for crimes of aggression – that is, the leaders of the Russian Federation cannot be directly accused of the very fact of the invasion.
So far, the court has only issued one arrest warrant for a sitting head of state.. It was the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir: in 2008, he was accused of genocide because of alleged ethnic cleansing during one of the conflicts in the south of the country. Despite the mandate, al-Bashir continued to travel abroad, including to countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. In 2019, 75-year-old al-Bashir was overthrown in a military plot, and two years later new authorities announced they would extradite him to The Hague. So far this has not happened.