ICC issues war crimes arrest warrant for Putin

FILE PHOTO: Internationally wanted war criminal Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new ICC warrant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine as part of his invasion, and as a consequence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant on war crimes charges. That means if Putin crosses into any territory belonging to the court’s 123 member states they are required to arrest him and transfer him to The Hague to face trial.

The Kremlin outright rejected the charges, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling the ICC declaration “null and void… outrageous and unacceptable.” Russian parliament speaker called the move hysteria and an act of aggression against Russia, telling the West to keep their hands off Putin.

Russian authorities have long denied any accusations of atrocities or any wrongdoing during their year-long invasion and attempted occupation of Ukraine that has caused global turmoil and a mass exodus of Russians to Thailand.

The ICC has begun issuing warrants for crimes related to the war in Ukraine. The first charge accuses Putin of illegally deporting and transferring people, including hundreds of Ukrainian children, from Ukraine to Russia since February 24 of last year. According to ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan, these individuals were taken from orphanages and children’s homes in Ukraine and given up for adoption in Russia.

Ukraine officials assert that the number is much higher, estimating that over 16,000 children have been illegally snatched from their homeland and forcibly relocated to Russia.

The ICC accuses Putin, along with Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, of demonstrating an intention to permanently remove these children from their own country, violating the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The historic arrest warrant has made Putin the third serving president to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant, following Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The warrant is a powerful move with widespread ramifications, explains former US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp:

“This makes Putin a pariah. If he travels he risks arrest. This never goes away. Russia cannot gain relief from sanctions without compliance with the warrants.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.