Wednesday, March 29, 2023

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin for Ukraine war crimes

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Arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at Hague in Netherlands against Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes against children in Ukraine.

As per the press release issued by the ICC  Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC has issued warrants of the arrest for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Child Rights in Russia.

The press release informs that Putin is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of children.

Putin is also held responsible for the unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation  as mentioned (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). 

These crimes were committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from February 24, 2022.

The release by International Criminal court said that there are many grounds that affirm the believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,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).

The ICC also mentioned that the similar findings were made with respect to Maria Lvova-Belova as well.

The statement further said that the Pre-Trial Chamber II considered, based on the Prosecution’s applications of 22 February 2023, finds reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of deportation  of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.

The Chamber considered that the warrants are usually secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. 

The statement mentions that in this case the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants will add to the prevention of the further commission of crimes.

The Chamber thought 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.

The warrants were issued to the applications submitted by ICC prosecutor Karim AA Khan KC (King’s Counsel).

A press statement by Khan said that  it is on the basis of evidence collected and analysed by the Office pursuant to its independent investigations, the Pre-Trial Chamber has confirmed that there are reasonable grounds to believe that President Putin and Ms Lvova-Belova bear criminal responsibility for the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, contrary to article 8(2)(a)(vii) and article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.

The statement by Khan further added that the office identified deportation of hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children’s care homes.

Khan added that many of of these children, have since been given for adoption in the Russian Federation.

He added that the law was changed in the Russian Federation, through Presidential decrees issued by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian citizenship, making it easier for them to be adopted by Russian families.

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