The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued a warrant for the arrest of Russian president Vladimir Putin, alleging his involvement in ‘the war crime of unlawful deportation of children’ from occupied Ukraine.
Last year, Kyiv accused Russia of ‘stealing’ children from the besieged city of Mariupol and other areas, claiming some 16,000 children were deported to the Russian Federation in the year from February 2022. Independent investigators say at least 6,000 children have been taken to Russia, reports NOS.
The ICC has also issued an arrest warrant against Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.
Moscow has said decisions of the ICC, which it does not recognise, ‘have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,’ media reported.
The Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that he applauded the ICC decision and that ‘the wheels of justice’ were turning.
However, the ICC has no police force or power to make an arrest, and would depend on countries that recognised the mandate of the court.
The Hague will also host a special office established by the European Commission to collect evidence against Russia for crimes in Ukraine, it announced last month. It could eventually deliver this to a war crimes tribunal.