International Criminal Court (ICC) issues warrant of arrest for Vladimir Putin—Russian president accused of war crimes including rape, executions, unlawful transfer of children

Effort underway to collect all footage from the war and store it in a permanent and public database.


SYart (Flickr)

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Marcus Reichley, Reporter

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Putin as of the 17th of March 2023.

Not to be mistaken for the United Nations International Court, the ICC is the only one of its kind, a permanent international tribunal with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for international crimes against humanity.

In a public statement from the ICC, Putin is accused of “the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

A warrant was also issued for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Putin’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

The Russian Federation vehemently denies these claims, some Russian officials have also pointed out that many countries do not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.

“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 and bears no obligations under it.” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

U.S President Joe Biden agrees with the warrant issue, calling it “justified”, despite the United States also being one of the countries who do not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction.

The Russian Federation, originally a signatory of the Rome Statute, recognized the ICC up until 2016, when they withdrew their signature a day after the court classified its annexation of Crimea as a military occupation.

Less than 48 hours after the warrant was issued, Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, Ukraine, now a Russian occupied city and the site of what was one of the bloodiest battles in the war.

Ukrainian officials are in full support of the decision, which severely limits Putin’s ability to travel, since all state parties to the ICC’s Rome Statute are obligated to make an arrest if he were to ever set foot in their country. Following an arrest Putin would then be extradited to The Hague to face trial as a war criminal.

As of March 2023 there are 123 state parties to the Rome Statute, including most of Europe.

Although it is unlikely Putin will ever face a trial in The Hague, his ability to have an international presence will be severely hindered. For example, if the host of a G20 summit were to be a signatory to the Rome Statute, Putin would technically not be able to attend, or risk arrest in doing so.

The Humans Right Watch has documented several cases of war crimes committed by Russian forces in occupied Ukraine.

An official statement from the group reads, “These include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022. Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood.”

Putin has yet to be formally implicated by the ICC in any of the more heinous crimes the Ukrainian people have been victim to.

Many of these war crimes have been documented by the people of Ukraine through social media.

There is also an effort to collect all footage from the war and store it in a permanent and public database.

Dattalion, an online database cultivated by mostly Ukrainian women, many of whom are mothers and wives to fighting soldiers, has an extensive library of footage documenting the war from an on the ground perspective.