• The ICC accused Vladimir Putin of being responsible for war crimes in Ukraine
  • The court accused Putin of being involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children

The International Criminal court has today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

The ICC accused Putin of being responsible for war crimes because of his involvement in the abduction of children who have been plucked from their homes in Ukraine and deported to Russia to be given to Russian families.

The court said in a statement that Putin is allegedly ‘responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.’

It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s ‘Children’s Rights Commissioner’, on similar allegations.

Russia slammed the court’s decision as ‘meaningless’ because Russia is not a member of the ICC.

The court’s president, Piotr Hofmanski, said in a video statement that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court has no police force of its own to enforce warrants.

‘The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law. The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation,’ Hofmanski said.

A possible trial of any Russians at the ICC remains a long way off, as Moscow does recognize the court’s jurisdiction – a position reaffirmed earlier this week by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov – and does not extradite its nationals.

Ukraine also is not a member of the court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory and ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has visited four times since opening an investigation a year ago.

The ICC said that its pre-trial chamber found there were ‘reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.’

Putin was allegedly responsible both directly by committing the acts and for ‘failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission’, the court said.

The ICC said the crimes dated from February 24 last year, when Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

On Thursday, a U.N.-backed inquiry cited Russian attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, among potential issues that amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

The sweeping investigation also found crimes committed against Ukrainians on Russian territory, including deported Ukrainian children who were prevented from reuniting with their families, a ‘filtration’ system aimed at singling out Ukrainians for detention, and torture and inhumane detention conditions.

But on Friday, the ICC put the face of Putin on the child abduction allegations.

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

In the year since the war began, the world has watched in horror as Putin’s soldiers have dropped missiles on apartment buildings, tortured civilians before shooting them dead, and systematically raped women and girls.

Men, women and children – the youngest known victim being a 14-year-old boy – have been executed by Russian soldiers, their bodies thrown into deep troughs dug into the ground.

The scale of the suffering and the indiscriminate targeting of men, women and children has seen at least 7,000 civilians killed and nearly eight million Ukrainians flee to countries across Europe.