Lazy eyes listen
The Hague International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children.
There are “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,” according to the court’s pre-trial judges.
The judges considered issuing secret warrants but decided that making them public could “contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes”.
Moscow has stated that it does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal standpoint,” said Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, on her Telegram channel. “Russia is not a party to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute and bears no obligations under it.”
Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, welcomed the news on social media, adding, “It’s just the beginning.”
Wayne Jordash, a Kyiv-based international human rights lawyer and managing partner of Global Rights Compliance, agreed that Putin and Lvova-warrants Belova’s were likely to be the first of many.
“There will be more in the coming months. This has to be some kind of warning shot across the bow. “This is just the prosecutor getting something on the docket,” Jordash explained. Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, began war crimes investigations in Ukraine more than a year ago.
The Russian leadership has made no secret of the fact that it is bringing Ukrainian children to Russia and placing them in camps or placing them for adoption with Russian families. On February 16, Lvova-Belova appeared on television, telling Putin about the program and revealing that she had “adopted” a 15-year-old child from Mariupol, a devastated and occupied Ukrainian city in the south-east.
“Now I know what it means to be a mother of a child from Donbas. It’s difficult, but we adore each other. “I believe we are capable of handling anything,” Lvova-Belova told Putin during the meeting at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.
The televised conversation may have influenced Khan’s decision to issue his first arrest warrant requests for Putin and Lvova-Belova.
“There’s a strong case against Putin here,” Jordash said. As a result, I think it’s encouraging to see the prosecutor focusing on children’s rights. I believe that this is what international prosecutors have failed to do over the last 20 years, so this is a good focus, as it is one of the most heinous crimes committed.”
Human Rights Watch’s associate international justice director, Balkees Jarrah, stated:
“With these arrest warrants, the ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step to end the impunity that has emboldened perpetrators in Russia’s war against Ukraine for far too long.
“The warrants send a clear message that giving orders to commit or tolerating serious crimes against civilians may lead to a prison cell in The Hague. The warrants issued by the court serve as a warning to others who commit or cover up abuses that their day in court may be coming, regardless of rank or position.”