April 1, 2023 12:55 am

Each warrants are associated to children’s rights. (File)

The Hague:

The International Criminal Court on Friday announced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian kids.

The Hague-primarily based ICC mentioned it had also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on related charges.

Moscow dismissed the orders as “void.” Russia is not a celebration to the ICC so it was unclear if or how Putin could ever finish up in the dock.

War-battered Ukraine welcomed the ICC announcement, with President Volodymyr Zelensky hailing the “historic choice.”

The court’s shock notice came hours right after other news with the prospective to considerably influence Russia’s war on Ukraine, which includes a Moscow stop by from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and far more fighter jets for Kyiv’s forces.

Additional than 16,000 Ukrainian kids have been deported to Russia considering the fact that the February 24, 2022 invasion, according to Kyiv, with numerous allegedly placed in institutions and foster houses.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan told AFP that Putin was now liable for arrest if he set foot in any of the court’s far more than 120 member states.

He mentioned the arrest warrants have been “primarily based upon forensic proof, scrutiny and what is been mentioned by these two people”.

“The proof we presented focused on crimes against kids. Kids are the most vulnerable aspect of our society,” mentioned Khan.

The ICC mentioned judges identified there have been “affordable grounds” to suspect Putin’s criminal duty and grant Khan’s application for the warrants, which have been produced back on February 22.

ICC President Piotr Hofmanski mentioned the execution of the warrants “depends on international cooperation”.

‘Historic decision’

Through a meeting with Putin in mid-February, Lvova-Belova mentioned she adopted a 15-year-old youngster from the devastated Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

“Now I know what it signifies to be a mother of a youngster from Donbas — it is a challenging job but we enjoy every other, that is for certain,” she told Putin.

She added that “we evacuated children’s houses into protected places, arranged rehabilitation and prosthetics for them and offered them with targeted humanitarian help.”

The arrest warrant for Putin, a sitting head of state of a UN Safety Council member, is an unprecedented step for the ICC.

Set up in 2002, the ICC is a court of final resort for the world’s worst crimes, when nations can’t or will not prosecute suspects.

Prosecutor Khan launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine just days right after Russia’s invasion.

Khan lately posted photos from a stop by to Ukraine alongside empty cots in an empty children’s care residence, and mentioned that investigating alleged youngster abduction was a “priority”.

“It is poignant,” he mentioned. “1 sees empty cribs and empty beds juxtaposed with paintings by these kids on the walls.”

Zelensky, who met Khan on his stop by, welcomed the arrest warrants for his nemesis in Moscow.

“A historic choice from which historic duty will start,” Zelensky mentioned.

Ukraine’s Western allies also hailed the move.

US President Joe Biden mentioned the warrant was “justified,” and “tends to make a really robust point,” even though noting that the United States is not a member of the ICC.

“There is no doubt that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities in  Ukraine, and we have been clear that these accountable have to be held accountable,” a State Division spokesperson mentioned. “The ICC Prosecutor is an independent actor.”

Britain named the choice “welcome” and the European Union mentioned it was “just the begin.” Human Rights Watch mentioned it was a “significant day for the numerous victims” of Russian forces.


The Kremlin dismissed the warrants.

“Russia, just like a quantity of unique nations, does not recognise the jurisdiction of this court and so from a legal point of view, the choices of this court are void,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev compared the warrants to toilet paper, even though foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned they “have no which means” for Russia.

The ICC’s Khan nonetheless mentioned there have been “so numerous examples of people today that believed they have been beyond the attain of the law”.

“Appear at (Slobodan) Milosevic or Charles Taylor or (Radovan) Karadzic or (Ratko) Mladic,” he mentioned, referring to a series of war criminals from the former Yugoslavia, and former Liberian president Taylor, who have faced justice.

Earlier in the day, Beijing and Moscow announced that Chinese leader and strategic ally Xi would be in Russia subsequent week to sign accords ushering in a new era of ties.

The United States has accused China of mulling arms shipments to help Russia’s campaign — claims Beijing has strongly denied.

The arrest warrants come a day right after UN investigators mentioned Russia’s forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian kids to places below its manage amounts to a war crime.

The investigators mentioned parents and kids had spoken of youngsters becoming informed by Russian social solutions that they would be placed in foster households or adopted.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, but Kyiv has accepted the court’s jurisdiction and is functioning with Khan’s workplace.

Russia denies allegations of war crimes by its troops. Specialists have mentioned it is unlikely it would ever hand more than any suspects.

With fighting nevertheless raging in Ukraine, Kyiv welcomed the news Friday that Slovakia will donate 13 MiG-29 warplanes.

Ukraine has lengthy requested fighter jets from Western allies, though it is searching for mostly contemporary US-produced F-16s.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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