The International Criminal Court announced on Friday that it has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin war crimes because of his alleged involvement child abductions from Ukraine.
The court said in a statement that Putin is allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of the population (children) and illegal transfer of the population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
It also issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar charges.
The International Criminal Court stated that its Pre-Trial Chamber found that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect is responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation and illegal transfer of a population from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. Ukrainian children.”
Over the past year, the prosecutor – as well as the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine – has collected evidence from several countries and individual sources. CBS News’ Pamela Falk reported Earlier this week, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan prepared to seek arrest warrants for individuals involved in the alleged abduction of Ukrainian children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
Earlier this month, Khan visited Ukraine for the fourth time. “I leave Ukraine with the feeling that the pace towards justice is accelerating,” he said in a statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the arrest warrants with a statement: “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It has no obligations under it.”
Lvova-Belova, who was accused of running the child transfer program, defended her behavior. “What I want to say: First of all, it’s great that the international community has appreciated the work to help the children of our country, that we don’t leave them in a war zone, that we take them away, that we create good conditions for them, surround them with loving, caring people,” he said.
Charge Putin would make the president of Russia international refugeeCBS News’ David Martin reports.
“It is not easy for a head of state to fear arrest when he enters a European country or a North American country,” said Richard Goldstone, the chief war crimes prosecutor in Bosnia in the 1990s.
Ambassador Beth Van Schaack, the State Department official in charge of gathering evidence that could help prove Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine, told Martin: “He is now inevitably trapped in Russia. He can never travel internationally because the risk of being captured is too great and brought before the court.”
The same applies to all other Russians accused of war crimes.
“They enjoy some degree of impunity in Russia,” Van Schaack said, “but we’ve seen that the perpetrators don’t stay in their home countries. They want to go shopping in Europe or vacation somewhere, and they get identified, and then law enforcement is activated. And we’ve never been more integrated than we are now .”
Harvard Law Professor Alex Whiting, who worked in the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, explained to CBS News: “Issuing arrest warrants is the first step towards accountability for war crimes – it shows that there is evidence that war crimes have been committed, that the identified individuals are responsible for them and the accused individuals are perpetually at risk of arrest or extradition, especially if they travel to any of the 123 states that are members of the court.”
President Biden is called Putin a “war criminal” and called him to it face trialbut the United States is not part of the International Criminal Court because it has never ratified the treaty that established the institution.
CBS News has investigated the claim torture and war crimes made in Ukraine by Russian forces since the beginning of the attack. In August, a CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay spoke to Ukrainian children who had been taken to Russian territory against their will, then rescued and brought back to Ukraine.
A February report by the Yale School of Public Health Humanitarian Research Laboratory, sponsored by the US State Department, found that “all levels of the Russian government are involved” in the transfer of children from Ukraine.
“We have identified at least 43 facilities in this camp network, facilities that hold Ukrainian children or have held Ukrainian children. This network stretches from one extreme of Russia to the other,” lab director Nathaniel Raymond said at a news conference. 14th of February
“The primary purpose of the camps seems to be political re-education,” he said, but added that children from several camps “were later placed with Russian foster families or some sort of adoption system.”
– Pamela Falk, David Martin and Camilla Schick participated in the reporting.