On March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court announced the decision to arrest Vladimir Putin and the Commissioner of the President of the Russian Federation for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova for the fact that they “are 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 (according to Articles 8(2)(a)(VII) and 8(2)(b)(VIII) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were probably committed on the occupied Ukrainian territory at least since February 24, 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mrs. Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the above-mentioned crimes for committing actions directly, jointly with others and/or through others (Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).”
Normally, the Court does not publish decisions on preventive measures taken against suspects, but in the case of Ukraine and the deported Ukrainian children, the Court decided to publish this order to prevent and deter similar war crimes in the future.
Public organizations emphasized, it was the crime of forcible transfer of the population/children from temporarily captured/occupied territories protected by the Geneva Convention, for which “enough” evidence of involvement were gained, therefore the specified persons should be brought to justice.
Of course, they will not be on trial tomorrow, but this will significantly affect the related political and legal decisions regarding the condemnation of Russia’s criminal military aggression against Ukraine. The 123 participating countries that have ratified the Rome Statute (the document that regulates the activities of the ICC and gives it interstate procedural powers) will be obliged, if the suspects appear on their territory, to arrest them and bring them to the Court in The Hague.
The Foundation has repeatedly emphasized the need to hold the aggressor country accountable for the forced relocation of Ukrainian children and continues to call for coordinated actions by international partners to return deported Ukrainian children home.
The Foundation calls on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the President of Ukraine to immediately ratify and sign the Rome Statute in order to open the full spectrum of powers of the Court in the investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine and to investigate them as soon as possible, so that all guilty persons would be brought to justice, because without justice there will be no peace!
On October 25, 2022, the Regional Center for Human Rights sent a message to the International Criminal Court regarding the responsibility of officials of the Russian Federation for the genocide in Ukraine, for the forcible transfer of children from one group to another, in particular.