The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for his alleged involvement in the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. This means that he could be arrested and sent to The Hague if he travels to any ICC member states, though it is unlikely that Putin will end up in court any time soon.
The ICC, which has 123 member states, has accused Putin of being responsible for the war crime of the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. The Kremlin denied the accusations, and Russia and Ukraine are not members of the ICC. However, Kyiv granted the ICC jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.
The ICC does not have its own police force and relies on member countries to detain and transfer suspects to The Hague for trial. Putin is the third serving president to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
The warrant accuses Putin of being responsible for the unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. Ukraine has claimed that over 16,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia or Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
A US-backed report by Yale University researchers last month said that Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children at sites in Crimea since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The report identified at least 43 camps and other facilities where Ukrainian children have been held that were part of a “large-scale systematic network” operated by Moscow.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has been investigating possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Ukraine for a year, highlighting that he is looking at alleged crimes against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
While it is unlikely that Putin will be arrested and tried in court anytime soon, this news highlights the serious accusations against him and the ongoing investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.