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

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued this Friday a Arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of war crime for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from areas captured during the invasion of Ukraine to Russian territory.

The CFI has also issued an arrest warrant for the same reason against the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseievna Lvova-Belova, the court has made known in a statement.

The court understands “reasonable grounds” to believe that Putin “has individual criminal responsibility” for these crimeseither because of his “direct” commission or because he was unable to “exercise adequate control over the civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.”

The Kremlin has consistently denied that it is forcibly deporting Ukrainian children against the accusations made by kyiv and its allies. According to the Ukrainian government, at least 16,000 children have ended up displaced against their will to Russian territory since the beginning of the conflict, while a recent study presented in February by Yale University denounced at least 6,000 Ukrainian children distributed among 40 Russian boarding schools.

The impossibility of trying Putin

The arrest warrants for this Friday represent the first international charges filed since the beginning of the conflict and arrive after months of work by a special investigation team under the orders of the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan. For its issuance it has been necessary for a preliminary panel of judges to accept the validity of the evidence presented.

The possibility of the CFI ending up trying Putin is practically impossible for several reasons: the court cannot hear cases in absentia of the defendantRussia withdrew in 2016 from the Rome Statute that serves as the legal foundation for the court, and the Kremlin has no intention of handing over any Russian officials to the court, as it has reiterated on numerous occasions.

However, the CFI is qualified, at least, to impute Putingiven that it does not recognize immunity for heads of state in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

As a particular note, the CFI has made an exceptional case by identifying Putin and Lvova-Belova by name, contrary to the usual doctrine that favors anonymity, by indicating that “public knowledge of the orders can contribute to the prevention of the commission of of new crimes,” particularly the forced deportation of children, “which is still ongoing.

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