The International Criminal court has today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
The ICC accused Putin of being responsible for war crimes because of his involvement in the abduction of children from Ukraine.
The court said in a statement that Putin is allegedly ‘responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.’
It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.
The court’s president, Piotr Hofmanski, said in a video statement that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court has no police force of its own to enforce warrants.
‘The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law. The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation,’ Hofmanski said.
The International Criminal court has today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his barbaric invasion of Ukraine
Forensics carry body bags in a forest near Izyum, eastern Ukraine, on September 19, 2022, where Ukrainian investigators have uncovered more than 440 graves after the city was recaptured from the Russians
A Ukrainian police officer takes cover in front of a burning building that was hit in a Russian airstrike in Avdiivka, Ukraine, on Friday
A possible trial of any Russians at the ICC remains a long way off, as Moscow does recognize the court’s jurisdiction – a position reaffirmed earlier this week by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov – and does not extradite its nationals.
Ukraine also is not a member of the court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has visited four times since opening an investigation a year ago.
The ICC said that its pre-trial chamber found there were ‘reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.’
Putin was allegedly responsible both directly by committing the acts and for ‘failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission’, the court said.
The ICC said the crimes dated from February 24 last year, when Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.
On Thursday, a U.N.-backed inquiry cited Russian attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, among potential issues that amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The sweeping investigation also found crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children who were prevented from reuniting with their families, a ‘filtration’ system aimed at singling out Ukrainians for detention, and torture and inhumane detention conditions.
But on Friday, the ICC put the face of Putin on the child abduction allegations.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine just days after Russia’s invasion.
In the year since the war began, the world has watched in horror as Putin’s soldiers have dropped missiles on apartment buildings, tortured civilians before shooting them dead, and systematically raped women and girls.
Men, women and children – the youngest known victim being a 14-year-old boy – have been executed by Russian soldiers, their bodies thrown into deep troughs dug into the ground.
The scale of the suffering and the indiscriminate targeting of men, women and children has seen at least 7,000 civilians killed and nearly eight million Ukrainians flee to countries across Europe.
In March last year, a month into the war, Russian soldiers unleashed a series of indiscriminate bombs on civilian areas, leaving death and destruction in their wake.
During a three-month siege in the southern city of Mariupol, Russian forces levelled the city and killed hundreds of civilians in missile attacks. The world watched in horror as Russian forces bombed a maternity hospital on March 9, killing a pregnant woman and her baby, and wounding at least 17 people.
A week later, Russian aircraft again dropped missiles on civilian areas – this time on the Donetsk Regional Theatre in Mariupol, which was housing hundreds of civilians and had ‘children’ written in large white letters outside. At least a dozen people were killed and scores more were injured in the attack.
The attacks on civilians continue. On January 14, a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro killed at least 44 people, including five children, and injured 79 people.
Since October, Russian forces have also repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, plunging cities into darkness and leaving millions without heat during the bitterly cold winter months.
In the early months of the war, Russian forces were forced to retreat from towns and cities across Ukraine – but as they retreated, the war crimes they have committed against civilians has become clear.
Since March, mass graves have been filled with the bodies of thousands of civilians, many with their hands tied behind their backs, along with torture chambers discovered in liberated areas of Ukraine in areas across the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions – including the cities of Bucha, Irpin and Izyum.
In the early months of the war, Russian forces were forced to retreat from towns and cities across Ukraine – but as they retreated, the war crimes they have committed against civilians has become clear. Pictured: The bodies of civilians killed by Russian soldiers lie on the street in Bucha on April 2, 2022
Mr Zelensky was visibly emotional and stood motionless as he surveyed the scene of utter devastation he encountered when he visited Bucha in April last year, with dozens of bodies shot at close range lying on the empty streets.
The civilians who survived have detailed how Russian soldiers detained them for months and subjected them to electric shocks, waterboarding and beatings.
Horrific testimonies – including how Russian soldiers gang-raped a 22-year-old Ukrainian mother, sexually abused her husband and made the couple have sex in front of them before raping their four-year-old daughter – have also shown how Putin’s men have used rape as a weapon of war.
In many cases, the Russian soldiers would shoot dead the women’s husbands – or threaten to do so – as soon as they tried to defend their wives and stop them from being raped.
Russian soldiers have also detained more than 20,000 Ukrainian ‘hostages’ and sent them to Russia, Ukraine’s human rights envoy said in January.
This is a breaking news story, more to follow…