Arrest warrants have been issued for war crimes by judges at the International Criminal Court for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights.
In a statement, the ICC says they are suspected of the war crime of unlawfully deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.
There are reasonable grounds to believe President Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for such deportations, the statement says, adding it is alleged to have taken place since he launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February.
An arrest warrant has been issued against Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine.
The president of the ICC says judges have determined there are "credible allegations" for "the alleged crimes".https://t.co/X3flQUBL0r
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The UN reports that Russia has introduced policies such as the granting of Russian citizenship and the placement of children in foster families to “create a framework in which some of the children may end up remaining permanently” in Russia.
While the transfers were supposed to be temporary “most became prolonged”, with both parents and children facing “an array of obstacles in establishing contact”, UN investigators wrote.
In some cases, parents or children told the Commission once in Russia-controlled areas, transferred children were made to wear “dirty clothes, were screamed at, and called names”.
It also quotes witnesses as saying that the smaller children transferred may have not been able to establish contact with their families and might, as a consequence, “lose contact with them indefinitely”.
The forced deportations of Ukrainian children “violate international humanitarian law, and amount to a war crime”, concludes the report.
Putin implicated in children transferred to Russia
Since Ukraine was invaded more than a year ago, its government estimates over 16,000 children are thought to have been transferred to Russia or Russia-controlled areas.
Earlier, United Nations investigators said the forced deportation of Ukrainian children amounted to a war crime.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said there was evidence of the illegal transfer of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The Commission’s report is categorical that Russia also committed other war crimes in Ukraine.
They include attacks on hospitals, torture, rape and wilful killings.
Ukraine has responded, with presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak saying: “This is just the beginning.”
And Ukraine’s prosecutor general has called it a “historic” decision.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general has hailed the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant.
“The world received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and henchmen will be held accountable,” Andriy Kostin said in a statement on social media.
“This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law.”
Russia dismisses Putin arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of atrocities during its invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has also repeatedly said it does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and says it is under no obligation to it.
Responding to the arrest warrant against Putin, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman says it has “no significance whatsoever”.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.
“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible ‘recipes’ for arrest coming from the International Court will be legally null and void for us.”