The ICC Issues Arrest Warrants For Russian War Crimes
On March 17th, 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova for war crimes in Ukraine. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC is charging them with the unlawful deportation of children and the unlawful transfer of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
The Prosecutor of the ICC presented its judges with enough evidence to give the ICC reason to believe that the Russian Federation’s been unlawfully deporting children from occupied Ukraine to the Russian Federation from February 24, 2022, to the present time Ukraine. In a statement released by the ICC, it stated that it holds both Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova personally responsible for these crimes.
According to Ukraine human rights officials estimated that over 16,000 children were abducted by the Russian Federation during the War in Ukraine. According to a report by Amnesty International, the Russian Federation separates children from their families before shipping them to Russian-controlled areas or further into Russia. The Russians put deportees through an abuse screening process known as “filtration” which appears to lead to torture, detainment, and other ill-treatment.
An 11-year-old boy told Amnesty International that he was shocked when they told him that he was going to be separated from his mother. After separating the boy from his mother, he had no contact with her and the Russians did not tell them where they have taken her. He’s but one of the estimated 16,000 child victims that have been taken by the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin’s orders
According to The Associated Press, the Russian Federation dismissed the ICC arrest warrant and does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction to extradite Russian nationals. The Russian Federation considers enforcing the warrants to be a declaration of war. According to DW News, Ukraine hailed the ICC arrest warrants and desires justice for alleged war crimes the Russian Federation committed in Ukraine. Ukraine, Amnesty International and other NGOs called on the international community to create a tribunal to charge the Russian Federation with aggression, war crimes, and human rights violations.
However, the ICC does not possess the necessary resources to enforce the arrest warrants. According to a statement released by ICC President Piotr Hofmanski, it will be up to the international community to enforce the arrest warrants. However, Hungary and South Africa publicly stated that they will not enforce the warrants despite their membership in the ICC.
It’s unlikely that the ICC warrants will be enforced, but the fact that the ICC issued a warrant for Vladimir Putin for war crimes signals the growing international support for Ukraine in the war. According to the Associated Press, the Russian Federation declined to comment on whether or not Putin will be traveling to nations that might arrest him.