The International Criminal Court on Friday announced it had issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.
The Hague-based ICC said it had also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges.
ICC said in a statement, “Today, pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal 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,”
Putin “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.”
The ICC said the crimes dated from February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” it said.
Putin was allegedly responsible both directly by committing the acts and for “failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission.”
The arrest warrants are being kept secret to protect victims and witnesses, it said.