In a significant development on Friday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russin President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.
In its extraordinary statement, the ICC said, “On the basis of evidence collected and analysed by my Office pursuant to its independent investigations, the Pre-Trial Chamber has confirmed that there are reasonable grounds to believe that President Putin and Ms Lvova-Belova bear criminal responsibility for the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, contrary to article 8(2)(a)(vii) and article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute.”
Maria Lvova-Belova is Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights and is extremely close to Putin. In the past, she has often spoken about efforts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children taken to Russia.
The ICC said that evidences relied upon by it included the deportation of at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children’s care homes.
“Many of these children, we allege, have since been given for adoption in the Russian Federation. The law was changed in the Russian Federation, through Presidential decrees issued by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian citizenship, making it easier for them to be adopted by Russian families,” the ICC said.
The arrest warrant may not affect Putin a great deal since the ICC has no powers to arrest suspects, and can only exercise jurisdiction within its member countries. Russia is not a member of the ICC.
The only visible impact the arrest warrant by the ICC that Putin may feel is his ability to travel internationally. Friday’s development may adversely impact his international travel in the future.