The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for war crimes notably, the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.
The Hague-based court said in a statement on Friday 17th of March 2023 disclosed that “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) 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 was under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).
“Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, born on 25 October 1984, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.
“Nevertheless, mindful that the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes, the Chamber considered that 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 ICC added that it had decided to keep the warrant documents a secret “in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation.”
The arrest warrant has been dismissed by Moscow as meaningless and has denied committing such atrocities since it invaded Ukraine in February last year. It is worth noting that the court has no powers to enforce its own warrants.
Maria Zakharova, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman in response to the warrant stated that “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it.”