The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his alleged involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
In March 17th, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born on 7 October 1952, President of the Russian Federation, 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 (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. 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 were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).
Pre-Trial Chamber II considered, based on the Prosecution’s applications of 22 February 2023, that there are 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.
Russia has denied committing atrocities since it began what it calls a “military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022 and rejected the ICC’s move as null and void. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the decisions of the ICC had no meaning for their 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.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they considered the formulation of the issue unacceptable, and any decisions of this kind are null and void for Russia in terms of law.