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ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin for War Crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday (March 17), accusing him of ordering war crimes during his invasion of Ukraine.[0] The court found reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal 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.[1]

The warrant also mentioned Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights Maria Lvova-Belova, who has said she wants to forcibly assimilate Ukrainian children taken to Russia, and who claims to have adopted a 15-year-old boy from Mariupol. The International Criminal Court is seeking Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's commissioner for children's rights, for their involvement in the unlawful deportation and transportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, and is not likely to turn over Putin or Lvova-Belova for prosecution.[2] He may not necessarily be arrested if he goes overseas, as the countries he visits would have to be willing to take him into custody.[3]

ICC investigations concerning alleged war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine remain ongoing. Such serious offenses include bombing of civilian buildings, torture, and extrajudicial murder.[4] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has taken an initial move towards holding violators of international standards accountable, but further efforts must be taken to demonstrate that there is no room for unprovoked invasions, war crimes, and genocide in the global community.[4]

Meanwhile, U.S. European Command released footage of Russian jets’ encounter with a U.S. drone, showing an Su-27 Flanker jet making two exceptionally close passes of the un-crewed drone, spraying fuel in front of it.[5] Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, declared that Russia does not accept the authority of the court, and thus any decisions made by the court are invalid.[6]

The investigation into Putin and Lvova-Belova’s war crimes in Ukraine is ongoing, and it remains to be seen if they will ever face trial. With Russia denying any involvement in war crimes, it is unlikely that Putin will be arrested while he is in power.[3] The ICC has no powers to enforce its own warrants, so it relies on countries to do so.[7]

0. “International war crime authorities want to arrest Putin” Quartz, 17 Mar. 2023, https://qz.com/icc-putin-ukraine-russia-hague-war-crime-1850238534

1. “Biden says ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin is ‘justified’” New York Post , 18 Mar. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/03/17/biden-says-iccs-arrest-warrant-for-putin-is-justified/

2. “ICC judges issue arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes” The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/17/vladimir-putin-arrest-warrant-ukraine-war-crimes

3. “Will Vladimir Putin Actually Be Arrested for ICC Warrant?” TIME, 17 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6264280/vladimir-putin-icc-warrant-arrest/

4. “Vladimir Putin: Wanted by ICC for Crimes Against Children” Center for European Policy Analysis, 17 Mar. 2023, https://cepa.org/article/wanted-for-crimes-against-children-vladimir-putin/

5. “Russia-Ukraine war news: Finland and Turkey discuss NATO bid” The Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/17/russia-ukraine-war-news/

6. “Putin Can Still Visit These Major Countries After ICC Arrest Warrant” Newsweek, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/russia-putin-arrest-warrant-icc-1788692

7. “All you need to know about the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin” Al Jazeera English, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/17/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-iccs-arrest-warrant-for-putin

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