International Criminal Court Calls For Arrest Of Russian President Over Ukraine War
Russia is accused of forcefully transferring children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia during their conflict.
The pre-trial judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of the forced transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia during their conflict, which has been verified by human rights organisations.
The ICC has issued its first warrants over the Ukraine war, including one for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's children's commissioner, for the removal of children.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, human rights groups report that thousands of children have been taken to Russia. Ukraine is investigating over 16,000 cases related to this issue. The ICC did not provide a specific number of unlawfully transferred children.
On Friday, ICC judges stated that Putin may hold personal criminal liability for the specified crimes, as there are valid reasons to believe so.
Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the ICC, launched an inquiry into Russia's alleged war crimes in Ukraine upon Moscow's invasion. The warrant issued implies Putin could face arrest while traveling to any ICC country.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the arrest warrants for alleged Russian war crimes a historic decision and a starting point for historical responsibility.
Zelenskyy accused Russia of implementing a state policy that involves separating children from their families, depriving them of contact with relatives, hiding them in Russia, and scattering them in remote regions, labelling it as state evil.
The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, downplayed the significance of the ICC warrants, stating that Russia is not subject to its obligations as it is not a party to the Rome Statute.
Further, the country is not cooperating with the ICC, rendering any possible arrest warrants from the body legally invalid to Russia.
Ex-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed with the statement, tweeting a toilet paper emoji indicating no explanation was necessary on its use.
Russia denied committing war crimes or atrocities against civilians in the conflict and accused Ukraine of staging evidence while blaming Ukraine’s soldiers for some atrocities.
Lvova-Belova expressed satisfaction with international recognition for their efforts to aid the children of Russia after they were removed, according to RBC newspaper.
We evacuate them from the war zone, provide care and surround them with loving people to ensure their well-being.
According to ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmanski, international law prohibits occupying powers from transferring civilians to other territories, and children are given special protection.
"The warrants' contents are confidential to safeguard victims," said Hofmanski.
"Despite this, the chamber judges disclosed the warrants' existence to uphold justice and prevent further offenses."
After analysing the evidence, the judges found credible allegations against those individuals. However, executing the warrants is reliant on international cooperation.
The ICC, located in The Hague, was founded in 1998 to probe war crimes and genocide in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. As Russia, China, India, and the US have not signed the document, the court has no authority over them.
Ukraine, though not an ICC member, has acknowledged the court's authority after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The ICC depends on national authorities to arrest and hand over suspects for whom it has warrants. Suspects, when apprehended, are taken to the ICC detention centre in The Hague and subjected to trial.
ICC issued 38 arrest warrants, with 21 detentions and 10 convictions after trial over three decades.
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