The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is seeking the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, according to a statement released by the court Friday. ICC judges are also seeking the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, the Putin administration’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights.
Both Russian officials stand accused of the war crimes of the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied territories of Ukraine into Russia.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others … and (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility,” the statement read, adding that Lvova-Belova is also accused of individual responsibility.
The arrest warrants are a continuation of the ICC’s investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
While Ukraine is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, the country accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction for the purposes of “identifying, prosecuting, and judging the perpetrators and accomplices of acts committed in the Territory of Ukraine since 20 February 2014.”
Karim Khan, a prosecutor of the ICC, prepared the arrest warrants against the Russian officials following a visit he made to Ukraine on March 7.