The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, are suspected of war crimes for the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
In the midst of war in Ukraine, Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), wanted to strike loud and clear. More than a year after the entry of his tanks into the neighboring country, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is targeted by an ICC arrest warrant for war crimes. “For the first time, the court fulfills the function assigned to it: show that there is no impunity for a head of state who commits crimes,” commented a lawyer to the HAYE. For several weeks, many have been wondering about the prosecutor’s initiatives. Was he going to tackle the head of the Kremlin? Target the highest of the hierarchy? Or start by targeting officers?
The arrest warrant issued by the ICC judges aims at the head of state with a nuclear power, who sits on the UN Security Council and who is suspected of war crimes for the deportation of Ukrainian children in Russia, and for forced transfers from other children to the occupied territories in the east of the country. There are “reasonable reasons to believe that Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for these crimes,” the judges said in a statement. The alleged co-author of these “crimes”, the Russian commissioner for the rights of the child, Maria Lvova-Belova, 38, is also under an arrest warrant. They relate to “the deportation of hundreds of children withdrawn from orphanages and homes” in Ukraine, who would then have been “given to adoption” in Russia, added the prosecutor in a press release.
Decrees for conviction parts
In July, Maria Lvova-Belova publicly encouraged her compatriots to adopt Ukrainian children, telling them that she herself welcomed a teenager in Marioupol, in the Donetsk region. Moscow claims to conduct humanitarian action, intended to protect young Ukrainians. But for the ICC, these acts “demonstrate an intention to permanently withdraw these children from their own country”. The decrees published by the Russian President to accelerate the allocation of Russian citizenship to Ukrainian children, then their adoption by Russian families, should then become conviction parts as part of a future trial in The Hague, if Vladimir Putin was transferred there.
At this stage, the prosecutor advanced the procedure in the context of a first case of which he was certain that it would arouse a strong emotion. “We cannot allow children to be treated as a war loot,” said Karim Khan. According to Ukrainian authorities, more than 16,226 children have been deported to Russia since the start of the conflict.
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