The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with the Ukrainian conflict.
The ICC issued the arrest warrant on Friday, saying he was “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
Specifically, it said there are “reasonable grounds” to believe he bares “individual criminal responsibility” for “having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through other and … 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.”
The ICC also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, whom they said also shared responsibility for them.
In a video statement, ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmanski stated that the judges involved in the case decided to make the warrants public “in the interest of justice and to prevent the commission of future crimes.”
A day earlier, UN investigators concluded that Russia’s forced deportation of Ukrainian children constitutes a “war crime.”
The number of children deported remains unclear to international investigators, though Ukrainian officials have said they have identified more than 16,000 specific children who were deported to Russia, and the investigators note that both governments at various times “have declared that hundreds of thousands of children have been transferred from Ukraine to the Russian Federation” since the beginning of the war more than a year ago.
In January, US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter told the Washington Examiner that officials are assisting Ukraine in tracking down the children who were separated from their families so that they can be reunited one day.
The deportations are “really just disgusting, despicable behavior from Russia’s forces, and its internal security apparatus,” he explained. “So we want to expose this but we also want to have accountability and with the children. We want to reach them at some point in the future. So that’s why it’s imperative that we act as soon as possible to document what kids are missing and where they might be. So that at some point in the future, we can try to find these kids and reunite them with their families. Some are orphans, but often, many of them have family in Ukraine, whether it’s grandparents or aunts and uncles. And so they’re sort of put up for adoption in Russia.”