International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for Putin

This article will be updated.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin on allegations of war crimes. His administration’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Alexeyevna Lvova-Belova, was also named in an arrest warrant by the court. Both are accused of being responsible for deporting children from Ukraine in violation of of the Rome Statute, and unlawfully transferring Ukrainian people from occupied areas of their country to the Russian Federation.

The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it was acting on allegations that Putin is “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 this began in Ukrainian occupied territory starting on February 24, 2022, or possibly earlier.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” the court said. It specified that the 70-year-old president may have violated different articles of the Rome Statute by either acting directly or jointly with others, but also for his “failure to exercise control” over civilians and military personnel who committed such acts.

Lvova-Belova also bears responsibility for the situation in her role as the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, the court said. Lvova-Belova has held her position for about two years. A few months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensified in 2022, she was accused of having a direct role in removing orphaned children from Mariupol and placing them in a camp in Rostov Oblast, which is just across the Ukrainian border in Russia.

“The most disgusting thing is that this process is being supervised directly by the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, who initiated the ‘simplification’ of the procedure for granting citizenship to orphaned children in Ukraine,” said Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to the mayor’s office of Mariupol, in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda.

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