Vladimir Putin is now a “wanted man” after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine, a leading human rights group has said.
The Russian president is the target of an arrest warrant aimed at bringing him to his country before a tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged trafficking in Ukrainian children.
Reports from the UN, several human rights organizations and the US-based Conflict Observatory describe a “vast network” of detention facilities and convoys since the start of the full-scale invasion.
The indictments brought by the ICC this afternoon relate to the “unlawful deportation” of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia and say there is reason to believe the two suspects bear “criminal responsibility” for the alleged crimes.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) works to document war crimes and has previously reported “untold stories” of alleged executions, torture, rape and looting by Moscow forces.
Balkees Jarrah, Associate International Justice Director, said: “This is a big day for the many victims of crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine since 2014. With these arrest warrants, the ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step to end the impunity that has encouraged perpetrators in Russia’s war against Ukraine for far too long.
“The arrest warrants send a clear message that issuing the order to commit or condone serious crimes against civilians can result in a jail cell in The Hague. The court’s arrest warrants are a wake-up call to others who commit abuses or cover up that their day could come before a court, regardless of their rank or position.’
In April last year, HRW Crisis and Conflict Director Ida Sawyer spoke of shocking cases of human rights violations by Kremlin troops.
Victims and witnesses who spoke to the nonprofit organization reported rapes, summary executions, unlawful violence and threats.
Cases of “forced transfers” of Ukrainian civilians to Russia or other occupied territories have also been documented by the group, which they describe as “potential crimes against humanity.”
The arrest warrants for Mr Putin and another for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, relate to the alleged trafficking of children across the border into Russia.
ICC President Piotr Hofmanksi said: “International law prohibits occupying powers from relocating civilians from the area where they live to other areas.
“Children enjoy special protection under the Geneva Convention.”
Mr. Hofmanski added: “This is an important moment in the judicial process before the ICC.
“The judges have reviewed the information and evidence presented by the prosecution and contend that there are credible allegations against these individuals for the alleged crimes.
“The ICC does its hard work as a court, the judges issue arrest warrants, the execution depends on international cooperation.”
MORE : Putin receives international arrest warrant for war crimes in Ukraine
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/17/war-crimes-warrant-makes-putin-wanted-man-in-big-day-for-victims-18462696/ War crimes arrest warrant makes Putin 'wanted man' on 'big day of victims'