The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin - ForumDaily
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International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for Putin

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued international warrants for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as children's rights commissioner in the Russian Federation Maria Lvova-Belova. Information posted on court site. They are suspected of illegal forced transfer of Ukrainian children.

Photo: IStock

“Today, March 17, 2023, the Second Pre-trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two persons in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova,” the message says.

The crimes have been committed in the occupied territory of Ukraine since at least February 24, 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin and Lvova-Belova bear individual criminal responsibility for them, the ICC noted.

“The Pre-trial Chamber II, based on the motions of the Prosecutor’s Office dated February 22, 2023, decided that there are sufficient grounds to believe that each suspect is responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation and illegal transfer of the population from the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, which caused harm to Ukrainian children” , the court said.

On the subject: Tribunal for Putin: is it possible to condemn the current president of the aggressor country

“The Chamber considered that the warrants were secret to protect victims and witnesses and to ensure the security of the investigation. However, bearing in mind that the conduct at issue in the present situation is ongoing and that informing the public of warrants can help prevent further crimes from being committed, the Chamber considered that it would be in the interests of justice to authorize the Registry to publicly disclose the existence of warrants, the names of suspects, crimes, against whom warrants have been issued,” the court said in a statement.

That is, Putin can be arrested if he leaves Russia?

They can. But not in all countries. The decision of the International Criminal Court is binding on countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. RBC.

Today it is almost all of Europe, Canada, Mexico, South American countries and most African countries.

Marked on the map:

  • green - countries that have ratified the statute (Putin can be arrested here);
  • yellow - signed but not ratified (there is a chance of arrest, but small);
  • orange - ratified, but withdrew signatures;
  • red - neither signed nor ratified.

So far, Belarus, Turkey, China, Iran, almost all countries of the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia remain open to Putin. In addition, the United States withdrew its signature to the Rome Statute in 2002.

Ukraine's reaction

Now Putin has the official status of a suspect in an international crime - the illegal forced transfer of Ukrainian children, explained the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin. This means that outside of Russia, Putin must be arrested and brought to trial.

“And world leaders will think thrice before shaking his hand or sitting down at the negotiating table with him. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and henchmen will be held accountable,” Kostin explained.

This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law, he noted.

According to Kostin, about the forced deportation of children, the Office of the Prosecutor General handed over to the ICC more than 40 volumes of materials - more than 1000 pages. In total, in the proceedings in which the Office of the Prosecutor General exercises procedural guidance, the deportation of more than 16 thousand children from Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Kherson regions was recorded. But the real figure could be much higher.

“We managed to bring 308 children home. Everyone should be returned. And condemn in Ukrainian and international courts everyone involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children. And also to other war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the heaviest international crime - aggression," the Prosecutor General of Ukraine said.

“The wheels of justice are turning: I welcome the decision of the ICC to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova for the forced transfer of Ukrainian children. International criminals will be held accountable for child thefts and other international crimes,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

What they say in Russia

“The ICC, unrecognized by Russia, said it had issued warrants for the ‘arrest’ of Putin and Lvova-Belova. The decisions of the International Criminal Court on “arrest” have no meaning for the Russian Federation, including from a legal point of view, they are legally null and void,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov previously noted that Russia does not recognize the ICC and its jurisdiction.

The Kremlin considers the arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin "outrageous".

“We consider the very formulation of the question outrageous and unacceptable,” Peskov said.

Reaction in the USA and in the world

White House Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby recalled that US President Joe Biden made it clear that the United States wants to ensure that Russia is held accountable for its atrocities and war crimes against humanity that are being committed on the territory of Ukraine against its people, writes Voice of America.

“We intend to continue to assist international bodies as they gather evidence and begin to analyze it,” John Kirby said.

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Human Rights Watch, an international organization that investigates human rights violations in all corners of the world, welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court: “This is a big day for many victims of crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine since 2014. With this arrest warrant, the ICC put Putin on the wanted list and took the first step towards ending the impunity that has so long inspired the perpetrators of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

Human Rights Watch believes that the issued arrest warrants “send a clear message that ordering crimes or condoning serious crimes against civilians can lead to a prison cell in The Hague. Court warrants are a wake-up call to others who commit or cover up crimes that their day in court may come, regardless of their rank or position.”

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