International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, a Russian children’s rights official, on March 17, 2023. The ICC accuses Putin of being responsible for war crimes happen in Ukraine, including the “war crime” of unlawful deportation of children and the unlawful transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia. Lvova-Belova allegedly directs the removal of Ukrainian children to Russia[1][2][4][5].

The ICC’s pre-trial judges assessed that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes. The court added that he had allegedly failed 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”[4].

Ukrainian officials have been pushing the ICC for some time to seek arrest warrants against Russian individuals in relation to the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, Andry Yermak, said on Telegram on Friday that the arrest warrant issued for Putin is “just the beginning. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and that its leadership and accomplices will be brought to justice,” Ukrainian General Prosecutor Andriy Kostin added in a post on Facebook on Friday[1]

Moscow rejected the warrant on Friday. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs, said the court has “no meaning” for Russia[1].

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