International Criminal Court Issues Warrant for Arrest of Vladimir Putin – The International Criminal Court, aka ICC, has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The ICC issued the arrest warrant on the grounds that Vladimir Putin was responsible for war crimes. Especially regarding the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

The ICC also says these crimes were committed in Ukraine from February 24, 2022 – when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of the country.

Moscow rejects the accusations and says the subpoena is “outrageous”.

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There may not be much to do with these arrest warrants – the ICC has no power to arrest a suspect, and can only exercise jurisdiction over its member states – and Russia is not a member.

However, the publication of this letter could affect Putin in other ways, such as not being able to travel internationally.

In a written statement, the ICC said it had reason to believe that Putin committed the crime directly, as well as in cooperation with other parties. The statement also accused him of failing to use his powers as president to stop children from being deported.

When asked about this ICC action, US President Joe Biden said, “yes, I think it’s justified”. He emphasized that the US is also not a member state of the ICC, “but I think they have a strong point”. Putin “obviously committed war crimes”, he said.

Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, is also wanted by the ICC for the same crime.

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In the past, he has openly spoken of attempts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children brought to Russia.

Last September, Lvova-Belova complained that some of the children who were transferred from Mariupol City “spoke badly of [Presiden Rusia]saying horrible things and singing the Ukrainian national anthem.”

He also admitted to having adopted a 15-year-old boy from Mariupol.

The ICC said they initially considered keeping the issuance of the arrest warrant a secret, but decided to publish it on the grounds that it would stop other crimes from happening.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan told the BBC “children cannot be treated as spoils of war, they cannot be deported”.

“This type of crime, you don’t have to be a lawyer, you just have to be human to know how cruel it is,” he said.

Reactions to the issuance of the arrest warrant emerged just minutes after it was announced, and the Kremlin issued an official statement rejecting it.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any decision from the ICC was “null and void” and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev likened the arrest warrant to toilet paper.

“No need for me to explain WHERE that thing is supposed to be used,” he wrote on Twitter, with a toilet paper emoji.

Even so, a number of Russian opposition leaders welcomed the ICC’s announcement. Ivan Zhdanov, a close ally of jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny, tweeted that this was a “symbolic” but important step.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was grateful to Khan and the ICC for their decision to prosecute the “rogue state”.

Ukraine’s Public Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said the decision was “historic for Ukraine”, while the country’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, called the decision “a start”.

But since Russia is not a member of the ICC, the chance that Vladimir Putin or Maria Lvova-Belova will appear on the bench in The Hague is slim.

The ICC relies on government-to-government cooperation to catch people, and Russia is “certainly not going to cooperate in this”, Jonathan Leader Maynard, lecturer in international politics at King’s College London, told the BBC.

Even so, Khan stressed that no one would have thought that Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader who was on trial for war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, would end up in The Hague.

“For those who feel they can commit crimes during the day, and sleep soundly at night, maybe they should look back at history,” he said.

Legally, however, this would create problems for Putin.

Although he is head of the G20 state, and plans to shake hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a historic meeting, Putin is also now a fugitive, and this will inevitably limit which countries he can visit.

There is also a degree of embarrassment for the Kremlin, which has consistently denied accusations Russia has committed war crimes, that such an important and pan-national institution like the ICC does not believe their denials.

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