Russian President Putin faces war crimes arrest warrant by ICC

The International Criminal Court charged Putin with unlawful deportation and transfer of children.
Posted at 11:51 AM, Mar 17, 2023

The International Criminal Court announced Friday it issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for crimes committed in Russia’s war against Ukraine. 

The ICC accused Putin of being responsible for war crimes of unlawful deportation and unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. 

The ICC also accused Putin of failing to control his military. 

Maria Alexeyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, is also accused of similar war crimes by the ICC. It issued a warrant for her arrest as well. 

“It is forbidden for world powers to transfer civilians from the territory they live into other territories,” said ICC President Piotr Hofmański. “Children enjoy special protection under the Geneva Convention.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a statement in response to the warrant.

"Decisions of the International Criminal Court are of no consequence in our country, including from the legal perspective," Zakharova said. "Russia isn’t a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and is under no obligation arising from it. Russia doesn’t cooperate with the organization, and any potential arrest 'recipes' originating from the international court will be null and void for us."

The ICC has successfully arrested and sentenced past world leaders, including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. 

In November, Scripps News was the first to visit a church where 46 orphans were abducted by the Russians.

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The ICC primarily charges world leaders for offenses such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression. There are 123 nations that are parties to the ICC. Both the United States and Russia are among those that have not agreed to the Rome Statute, which helped form the ICC.

President Bill Clinton agreed to join the ICC in 1998, but the treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate. 

Although Clinton signed the treaty, his administration expressed concern about the U.S. participating in the ICC. The Clinton administration was particularly concerned the court would supersede domestic courts. 

According to the ICC, its judges have issued 38 arrest warrants. Of those, 21 have been detained. 

The ICC has issued 10 convictions in its history. 

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