On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrested President Vladimir Putin and two others on suspicion that Russia invading Ukraine illegally abducted children from occupied territories to their own country as a “war crime” published a letter.
This is the first arrest warrant for the Ukrainian war.
The ICC has issued arrest warrants against heads of state for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (2008, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’), Libyan Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi (2011), “Crimes against humanity”), Putin is the third.
Putin has now become a wanted man in the international community.
In the future, Mr Putin’s prestige in the international community may be eroded and his isolation may increase.
A large number of civilians were massacred in Bucha, near Kyiv, and elsewhere as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But it takes a lot of evidence to confirm the president’s instructions.
Thus, the ICC appears to have filed a “war crime” case against the forced deportation of children, apparently ordered by Mr Putin.
The ICC has international jurisdiction over “genocide”, “crimes against humanity”, “war crimes” and “crimes of aggression” under the Rome Statute (or the ICC Convention).
Therefore, in the future, an arrest warrant may also be issued for Mr. Putin on charges of “genocide”, “crimes against humanity” or “crimes of aggression”.
On March 17, ICC Chief Prosecutor Khan indicated his intention to continue pursuing Russian war crimes, stating, “This is a decisive first step. We will continue to issue arrest warrants without hesitation.”
“The crimes appear to have been committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine since at least February 24, 2022. There are reasonable grounds to hold Mr. Putin personally responsible for the above crimes,” the ICC said.
He also issued an arrest warrant for Russia’s presidential Representative, the Plenary for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvovabelova.
In January 2023, Putin instructed Lybowaverova to find unaccompanied children in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, according to a statement from the ICC.
He also signed a presidential decree in May 2022 to simplify the acquisition of Russian citizenship for children in occupied territories and to encourage orphans to be adopted with Russians.
Investigations so far suggest that at least hundreds of children have been abducted from Ukrainian orphanages and elsewhere, many of them given up for adoption in Russia.
Chief Prosecutor Khan said, “These actions show a willingness to remove the children from Ukraine forever.”
Chief prosecutor Khan, a British citizen, has experience as a legal adviser to the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as well as leading the UN team investigating crimes committed by the Islamic State ( ISIS) in Iraq. .
On the other hand, the Putin administration claims that the purpose of deporting children from the occupied territories is to protect war orphans.
Now let’s look at each country’s response.
US President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House on March 17 that although the US did not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction over him, it was “legitimate. It is very persuasive.”
Afterwards, he criticized Putin again, saying, “It is clear that he is committing war crimes.”
On March 18, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a joint press conference between the leaders of Japan and Germany that he would “watch the progress of the investigation with great interest.”
Given that the Japanese government referred the investigation to the ICC on March 9, 2022, I think it would have been better if the ICC had expressed its appreciation for its efforts.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on March 17 that the actual number of children abducted by Russia was “well above” 16,000 and accused Mr Putin of responsibility.
“It would have been impossible to carry out such a criminal campaign without the decision of the man at the helm in a state of terror,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on March 17 that the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin “has no meaning for Russia, including from a legal point of view.” “Russia is not a party to the ICC Treaty and has no obligations. “
On March 20, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia had called the very issue raised by the ICC “outrageous and unacceptable” and that any ICC decision on Russia was “null”.
By the way, the arrest and extradition of the suspect is essential to the prosecution, as the ICC does not allow “trial in absentia” where the suspect is absent.
So Putin is unlikely to be prosecuted unless he is impeached.
But if Mr. Putin enters the territory of Ukraine or an ICC member state, it will be possible to arrest him and bring him to trial at the ICC.
Investigative cooperation is an obligation of ICC contracting states. As of March 2023, 123 countries are part of the ICC Convention.
In this article, I would like to explain the real situation of Russia breaking international law in its invasion of Ukraine.
Below, I will discuss first the International Criminal Court, then which articles of international law the transfer of children violates, and finally which international law Russia’s military actions in Ukraine violate.