The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin that accuses him of directly overseeing war crimes in the country's invasion of Ukraine.
The Netherlands-based court issued the warrant Friday, charging Putin with the deportation of Ukrainian children to be adopted into Russian families. It also accused his presidential commissioner for children's rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, of related crimes.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” the court said in a new release, adding that he failed 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.”
The court typically issues warrants privately “to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation," but decided to publicize it in this case, as they are “mindful that the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes.”
Dmitriy Peskov, Putin's press secretary, responded to the warrant via a Telegram post, saying: “We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize the jurisdiction of this court."
Wayne Jordash, a leader international prosecutor and investigator in Ukraine, told NBC that while the decision may not lead to Putin's actual detainment, it will hinder his ability to travel.
“It now puts pressure on any country, which is a signatory to the ICC, to the Rome Statute, to arrest him if he ever travels to those countries,” he said. “These are countries which may in the past have been somewhat reserved about criticizing or voting in the General Assembly against Russia’s invasion. So, I think this puts a huge amount of pressure on Putin, too.”
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