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The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine, in particular the transfer and deportation of children.

As explained in the statement, the Second Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Russia, Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, based on the request of the Prosecutor’s Office. on February 22 last year and magistrates decided to issue orders to prevent future offences.

The court’s president, Piotr Hofmanski, explained in a video that while ICC judges issue orders, it is up to the international community to enforce them — the court does not have its own police force to enforce the orders. “This is an important moment in the justice process that is going on before the court. The judges considered the information and evidence presented by the prosecutor and determined that there are credible charges against these individuals. The ICC performs its work as a court.

A trial in The Hague is unlikely. Moscow does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently confirmed. Although Ukraine is also not a member, it has granted the court jurisdiction over its territory, and prosecutor Karim Khan has visited the country four times as part of the investigation.

According to the court, Putin is allegedly responsible for the war crimes of deportation and illegal transfer of population, in this case children, from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia. The crimes would have been “committed” on occupied Ukrainian territory since at least February 24, 2022 – the day Putin launched the invasion.

Hofmansky recalled that international law prohibits occupying powers from transferring civilians from the territory where they live to other territories and that children enjoy special protection.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin is individually responsible for the above-mentioned crimes, for the actions committed directly, jointly and/or through others (…) and for the failure to exercise adequate control over the crimes.” and military subordinates who committed acts, or allowed them to be committed, and who were under their effective authority and control by virtue of superior responsibility,” the court said in a statement.

The court also considers that Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belov is allegedly responsible for the same war crime. “There are reasonable grounds to assume that Ms. Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the above-mentioned crimes for committing the acts directly, jointly with others, and/or through others.”

The ICC issues orders

The Chamber found, based on the prosecutor’s request of February 22, 2023, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that both Putin and Lvova-Belova are responsible for the war crimes of deportation and illegal transfer of population.

The court considers that the orders are “confidential to protect the victim and witnesses as well as to protect the investigation, but given that the conduct that is the subject of this situation is likely to continue and that public knowledge of the orders may help to prevent further crimes,” it considers that “the justice It is in the interest of the Secretariat to authorize the Secretariat to publicly disclose the existence of the orders, the names of the suspects, the crimes for which the orders were issued and the methods used. Responsibility established by the Chamber”.

This Thursday, the independent commission of experts sent to Ukraine by the United Nations concluded in its final report that the Russian authorities have committed numerous violations of international law in different regions of the country, many of which are crimes. war”.

Experts were concerned after investigating the transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia, explaining that the situations of child transfer and deportation they investigated also amounted to war crimes. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to the commission, many of the younger children who were transferred were unable to establish contact with their families and lost contact with them indefinitely.

Kyiv said it is investigating information on the forced deportation of 16,226 children as part of criminal proceedings.

Kiev speaks of a “historic step” and Moscow of “legally invalid” orders

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba quickly responded to the court’s statement on Twitter. “Justice moves. I welcome the court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova for the forced transfer of Ukrainian children. International criminals will be held responsible for child theft and other international crimes.

Andriy Kostin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine He described the ICC decision as a “historic step”. “From now on, the President of Russia has the official status of a suspect in the international crime of illegal forced transfer of Ukrainian children. (…) This means that Putin should be arrested outside of Russia and tried. And world leaders will think twice before shaking hands or sitting at the negotiating table with him. “The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is a criminal and that its leaders and accomplices will be brought to justice,” he said.

Moscow, for its part, said the orders are “legally void” in Russia. “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no significance for our country, even from a legal point of view. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and has no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and the possible arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court is legally invalid for us,” said Maria Zakharova, the representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov repeated the same arguments before the press. “Russia, like several other states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court, and therefore any such decision is legally void for Russia.” Peskov did not respond to a question about whether the court’s decision would affect Putin’s visits to countries that accept the ICC’s jurisdiction. “I have nothing to add on this topic,” he said, according to the Tass news agency.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, assured that the court’s decision “and the gravity of the crime speaks for itself.” “This is an important court decision for the Ukrainian people. We have always maintained that war criminals should be punished. This is just the beginning of the accountability process. You cannot go unpunished.” Irene Castro, correspondent in Brussels, reports.

Balkes Jarrah, deputy international justice director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said that with the arrest warrants, the court “made Putin a wanted man and took the first step toward ending the impunity that has emboldened Russian perpetrators.” A war against Ukraine for a very long time.” “Arrest warrants send a clear message that issuing an order could result in the commission of serious crimes or the toleration of civilians in a prison cell in The Hague. The court orders are a wake-up call for those who commit abuses or cover them up to know that their day in court may come, regardless of rank or rank,” says Arra.

Source: El Diario





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