The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for being “allegedly responsible” for the war crime of deporting children from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.
Pre-trial judges of The Hague-based International Criminal Court said the Russian president could be held responsible for the forcible transfer of children from Ukrainian institutions to Russia, which human rights groups have documented.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” the ICC judges said in a statement on Friday.
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They also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, accusing her of the same crime.
These are the first warrants issued by the ICC, whose prosecutor Karim Khan had opened an investigation into alleged war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces in Ukraine soon after the start of the invasion last year.
The warrant means that Putin could be arrested if he traveled to any country that is part of the ICC.
The Kremlin called the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Putin and Russia’s children commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova “outrageous and unacceptable.”
“Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and, accordingly, any decisions of this kind are null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tweeted on Friday.
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