ICC Judges Issues Arrest Warrant Against Putin – On the day of 17th March of the year 2023, an event of considerable gravity and significance took place at the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the Pre-Trial Chamber II announced that they would be issuing warrants of arrest for two separate persons with regards to matters relating to the situation in Ukraine. These two individuals were none other than Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – the current President of the Russian Federation, and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova – a person implicated in the same matter. This announcement marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation being conducted by the ICC with regards to war crimes and other such matters in Ukraine, and will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences that will be felt for years to come.
Born in 1952, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who served as the President of the Russian Federation, is at the center of a controversy. It is alleged that he has committed war crimes by unlawfully deporting and transferring of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. The accusations are made under the legal framework provided by the Rome Statute, which outlines the international criminal law provisions for such offenses. The implicated articles are – 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the statute.
There have been accusations that the crimes were carried out on land that is currently being occupied by Ukraine, with reports suggesting that these acts started to occur as early as the 24th of February, 2022.
It is strongly suggested that Mr. Putin may hold personal culpability for the abovementioned offenses, with evidence indicating that he has acted as a direct perpetrator, in collaboration with others or by means of proxy (as per article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute). Furthermore, it appears that he may have failed in his duty to oversee and manage his civilian and military subordinates appropriately, leading to their involvement in such criminal activities or allowing them to occur under his command (according to article 28(b) of the Rome Statute). As a result, it is believed that he can be held accountable for these actions under the doctrine of superior responsibility.
It has been reported that Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, who was born on the 25th of October in 1984, holds the position of Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. However, recent allegations have surfaced that Ms Lvova-Belova may have committed a serious war crime. It is suggested that she may have been involved in the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine, which is considered as a violation of international law under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(vii) of the Rome Statute.
According to reports, a series of crimes were purportedly carried out on Ukrainian territories under occupation, starting from the 24th of February 2022. It is believed that Ms Lvova-Belova could be held accountable for the said offenses, as she is suspected to have participated either directly, alongside accomplices, or by employing third-party agents (as mentioned in article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).
ICC Judges Issues Arrest Warrant Against Putin
After assessing the applications presented by the Prosecution on February 22nd, 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II concluded that there were sufficient grounds to suspect each of the accused of committing the crimes of both unlawful deportation and unlawful transfer of population. These acts were said to have occurred within occupied territories of Ukraine and had a detrimental effect on the nation’s youth, specifically impacting their rights and well-being.
The Chamber extensively pondered upon the rationale behind rendering the warrants confidential. It was concluded that keeping these warrants under wraps was indispensable to ensure the protection of the victims and witnesses. Besides, the confidentiality of the warrants was also deemed crucial to shield the ongoing investigation from any prejudicial outcomes.
Taking into account the purported continuance of the behavior discussed in the current scenario and the possible impact of public acknowledgment of the warrants on the avoidance of further wrongdoing, the Chamber has deliberated and reached the decision that allowing the Registry to disclose information about the warrants, suspects’ names, crimes subject to warrants, and basis of liability as determined by the Chamber, would serve the cause of justice.