he International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the tribunal said in a press release.
Putin is accused of being responsible for war crimes committed in the course of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. According to the pre-trial chamber of the ICC, there are "substantial reasons to believe that each suspect is responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of a population (children) and that of illegal transfer of a population (children) from occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation to the detriment of Ukrainian children".
The decision put Putin next to leaders such as Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president ousted in 2019 and wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur at the turn of the century.
What is Putin wanted for?
According to the court, there are sufficient grounds to believe that Putin "bears individual criminal responsibility" under several articles of the Rome Statute for the mentioned crimes:
because he committed them directly, jointly with others and/or through others;
because he failed to exercise appropriate control over civilian and military subordinates who committed those acts, or allowed himself to be ordered to do so; and which were under his actual authority and control.
A warrant was also issued for the arrest of the Children's Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, due to the cases of "illegal deportations" of children from Ukraine. Russia insists - and reiterated its point yesterday - that the deportations are evacuations of civilians who have voluntarily moved to the country for security reasons. Ukraine rejects this thesis.
Neither Ukraine (which has, however, increased interaction with the court) nor the Russian Federation are parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC. However, the court has jurisdiction in Ukraine, according to two declarations submitted by Ukraine.
The court's plans to start the first cases about the war in Ukraine have been talked about since last week, when the New York Times also wrote about it, but it was not known whether Putin would be in the crosshairs.
Today, the ICC said it had considered the option of issuing the warrants without making them public, but decided that public confirmation would "contribute to preventing the further commission of offenses".